By Doug Ireland
---- — BRENTWOOD — A former Salem middle school teacher was sentenced this afternoon to four to seven years in prison for stealing thousands of dollars in jewelry.
Stephen Pierce, 47, of Salem pleaded guilty in Rockingham Superior Court to receiving stolen property. He was sentenced by Judge Marguerite Wageling.
Pierce faced two felony counts of receiving stolen property following his arrest last summer for stealing more than $33,000 worth of watches and jewelry from friends in Atkinson, then pawning them.
That spring, Pierce was charged with stealing a camera from Woodbury School, where he taught eighth grade. Pierce said in an interview after his arrest he didn’t know why he stole the camera, admitting he had been depressed.
He was placed on administrative leave, but later resigned. Pierce received a suspended seven-day jail sentence and a $750 fine.
Shortly before Pierce was scheduled to plead guilty in the Atkinson case, he was indicted on a new stolen property charge by a grand jury in Februrary. The charge alleged he stole and pawned more jewelry from a North Andover couple.
Pierce has been free on $5,000 personal recognizance bail.