Police charge wedding officiant after guest’s purse goes missing

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Portsmouth police arrested and charged a wedding officiant after investigating the whereabouts of a wedding guest’s missing credit card. Both Newport and Portsmouth police contributed to the investigation.

On Sept. 10, Newport police contacted Portsmouth police about an investigation into larceny and the fraudulent use of credit cards.

A 29-year-old woman from Lindenhurst, NewYork, told police her purse was stolen while she was staying at the bridal room of a local hotel in Newport. The victim was attending a friend’s wedding in Newport.

Inside of her purse was $200 in cash, along with her debit/credit card. The victim contacted hotel security when she realized that her purse was missing.

While at the wedding venue, the victim began to receive alerts on her cell phone that purchases were being made on her credit card. The purchases were being made in Fall River, Middletown, and Portsmouth. A purchase in Portsmouth was made at a pharmacy for the amount of $206.95.

The investigation by Newport police and aided by hotel security led to the suspect, James Stern, 39, of 47 Gormley Ave., Portsmouth. Stern was the officiant of the wedding.

Portsmouth police arrested and charged a wedding officiant after an investigation into the fraudulent use of a wedding guest's missing credit card. Both Newport and Portsmouth police contributed to the investigation. 

James Stern of Portsmouth (Photo provided by Portsmouth police)

According to police, surveillance video obtained by Newport officers showed Stern purchasing a gift card in the pharmacy in Portsmouth. The suspect turned himself in at the Portsmouth Police Department, where he was processed.

Stern was charged with felonious use of credit cards. He was arraigned in Second District Court in Newport.

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