Police searching for wedding officiant accused of stealing from guests

JAMES STERN_1539377295352.PNG.jpg

YARMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — Police in Yarmouth are searching for a wedding officiant who they say is unlicensed and stole credit cards from several bridesmaids.

The Yarmouth Police Department announced Wednesday they have an arrest warrant out for James Stern, 39, of Portsmouth.

Stern is facing charges of larceny of $1,200 by false pretense and impersonating a public official (justice of the peace).

The warrant comes as the result of an investigation conducted the police into a wedding in South Yarmouth on Sept. 15. 

A woman told police she had been married at a resort and her bridal party was provided a locked room to store their belongings. Yarmouth police said several bridesmaids later reported that they were alerted to the misuse of their credit cards.

Eyewitness News spoke with that woman, Ashley Veilleux, after she saw recent stories about Stern. She said she hired him for a photo booth, uplighting and to officiate her wedding.

Police began investigating Stern, who was recently arrested for stealing $200 from a wedding guest’s purse at a ceremony in Newport. He is also accused of using credit cards stolen from YMCA locations in Newport County and Westerly.

When police issued a computer check into Stern’s criminal record, it showed that Stern has 51 entries on his record in Massachusetts for crimes including identity fraud, fraudulent use of a credit card and related larceny charges dating back to June 1994. Stern also has an active warrant for his arrest in New Jersey for burglary and a lengthy criminal history in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Police said Stern had not been licensed in Massachusetts to officiate Veilleux’s wedding ceremony, meaning her marriage was invalid. Stern was required to submit the license to the state within 10 days of the marriage and he had not. The investigation eventually revealed Stern had not obtained a commission to perform the wedding.

Anyone with information on Stern is asked to contact the Yarmouth Police Department at (508) 775-0445.

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