WESTERLY — A Rhode Island man was arrested Tuesday after the police said he used a stolen ID card to gain entry to the Ocean Community YMCA and steal car keys, a wallet, and a duffle bag from a patron.
James C. Stern, 39, of Portsmouth, was charged Tuesday with larceny under $1,500, obstructing an officer, and two counts of receiving stolen goods. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday in Fourth Division District Court in Wakefield,
Stern was taken into custody shortly before 10 a.m. after the YMCA staff reported that a suspicious man may have been involved in an attempted theft.
Staff members told the police that a man had come in, claiming to be a member of the YMCA in Toms River, N.J., and saying that he intended to take a shower.
Stern was allowed into the facility but the staff said he seemed suspicious and kept an eye on him, the police reported. When he returned from the locker room, the staff reported that he went to the parking lot and began to enter a car with Connecticut license plates.
A police report said that when officers arrived, Stern ran back into the building carrying a duffle bag. The police and the staff found him in the locker room and he was taken into custody. Police said he produced the ID card but eventually gave his real name after officers told him they knew the ID had been reported stolen in New Jersey.
An investigation determined that Stern had stolen a key from a YMCA patron and used it to open a car door and take the duffle bag. The police said he was also in possession of the patron’s wallet; it was returned to its owner.
The police said officers searched Stern’s car and found items that had been taken from a patron of the YMCA in Mystic. Stern is also wanted in connection with the New Jersey theft, but police indicated that the warrant obtained by the Toms River police is not extraditable and he would need to return to the state on his own in order to face charges.
Stern is also facing charges related to recent thefts in Narragansett and Middletown. He was ordered held without bond pending a hearing on Oct. 17, court records show.