Westerly man charged after courthouse theft of officer’s cellphone caught on camera

Westerly man charged after courthouse theft of officer’s cellphone caught on camera


McGrath Judicial Complex

WAKEFIELD — A Westerly man, Christopher C. Meserve, 54, of Peabody Court, has been charged with stealing a court officer’s cellphone in Fourth Division District Court.

Westerly Police Capt. Shawn Lacey said a Westerly officer assigned to bring documents to the courthouse had stopped at the clerk’s counter to file paperwork when he was approached by someone who asked him a question. After he finished filing the paperwork, he forgot about his cellphone, which he had put on the counter, Lacey said.

According to police reports, the officer entered the courtroom moments later, and realizing he had left the phone behind, returned to the counter to retrieve it. After retracing his steps several times the officer asked the Rhode Island Capitol Police, which provides courthouse security, to obtain surveillance video.

The video showed Meserve, who was known to the Westerly officer, standing behind him and then taking the phone off the counter within 15 seconds of the officer leaving it behind. An outdoor video then showed Meserve return to his car and place something inside before heading back into court.

Meserve, when questioned, at first denied taking the phone, but admitted to the theft when told about the videos. The phone was found above the visor on the driver’s side of his car and the phone case was in a rear pocket behind the driver’s seat. Rhode Island State Police took Meserve into custody without further incident.


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