By Doug Ireland
---- — BRENTWOOD — A former Salem middle school teacher, convicted of theft, faces a new charge of receiving stolen property.
Stephen Pierce, 47, of 31 Ivan Gile Road in Salem was recently indicted by a Rockingham Superior Court grand jury on a new theft charge shortly before he was scheduled to plead guilty in two other theft cases.
Pierce resigned from his eighth-grade teaching job following his first arrest last spring for stealing and pawning a Woodbury School camera.
He said in an interview after his arrest he didn’t know why he stole the camera, admitting he had been depressed. Pierce was placed on administrative leave, then resigned.
He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor theft charge in 10th Circuit Court in Salem and received a suspended seven-day jail sentence and a $750 fine.
But that was only the beginning.
On June 18, Pierce was charged with stealing a watch and some jewelry from friends in Atkinson, then pawning the items.
A month later, he was charged for the third time. In that case, Pierce allegedly stole and pawned more than $33,000 worth of jewelry and watches from the same friends in Atkinson.
In the most recent case, also involving the same victims, Pierce allegedly stole and pawned more jewelry. Prosecutors allege he tried to pawn those items on Christmas Eve.
Police said Pierce had the keys to those friends’ Atkinson home. They went through pawn slips dating back several years to document the thefts.
If convicted on the new felony theft charge, Pierce faces seven and a half to 15 years in state prison.
His plea and sentencing hearing on the thefts in June and July have been rescheduled for April 23.
Pierce remains free on $5,000 personal recognizance bail.