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Stephen Pierce, 47, of Salem waived arraignment on a receving stolen property charge in Rockingham Superior Court on Thursday. (COURTESY)

Former Salem teacher waives arraignment

BRENTWOOD - A former Salem teacher remained free on bail on Thursday after making a brief court appearance to waive arraignment on his latest charge alleging he pawned stolen jewelry in 2011.

Stephen Pierce, 47, faces two counts of receiving stolen property for pawning thousands of dollars worth of stolen jewelry over several months in 2011.

He was indicted on the latest charge earlier this month in Rockingham County Superior Court. Prosecutors have yet to say how the latest case against Pierce came to light, but police have spent months reviewing local pawn shop slips which initially led to his first felony charge.

In that case, Pierce allegedly pawned roughly $33,000 from an Atkinson couple he was friends with, according to police. Salem police first arrested Pierce in May after discovering he had stolen a Nikon D60 camera from a yearbook program.

Pierce, then an eighth-grade teacher at Woodbury School in Salem, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and received a suspended jail sentence.

Police said they continued investigating and determined Pierce allegedly pawned roughly 40 pieces of jewelry belonging to the Atkinson couple.

Those thefts happened over the course of a year between March 2011 and last April, prosecutors said. The latest indictment alleges he pawned more jewelry - involving another victim - in Salem on Dec. 24, 2011.

Pierce was expected to plead guilty to a receiving stolen property charge earlier this month until he learned that he was about to be indicted on another felony charge.

Judge Marguerite Wageling agreed to delay, setting a plea and sentencing date for April 23.

Salem police said they linked Pierce to the thefts by reviewing slips at local pawn shops. Pierce had to submit his driver's license to the pawn shop in order to sell the items, police said.

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