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Webster woman pleads guilty to role in jewelry theft

A 25-year-old Webster woman pleaded guilty yesterday to helping her boyfriend steal more than $73,000 worth of jewelry from a Wilmot couple whose house she had been paid to clean.

Under a deal brokered with county prosecutors, the woman, Stephanie Vary, was sentenced to six months in the Merrimack County jail and three years for one count of accomplice to receiving stolen property. Vary was arrested Oct. 12 with her boyfriend, Richard Fortier, as he tried to sell five of the items to a Concord jeweler.

The Wilmot couple reported the theft Oct. 10. During a hearing yesterday in Merrimack County Superior Court, Erin Waldron, an intern at the county attorney’s office, said more than a dozen items had gone missing, including a diamond ring set and tennis bracelet, a platinum wedding band and a pair of gold earrings. Waldron said Vary had worked for the couple as a housecleaner, and had visited the home with a man and a small child about the time of the theft.

The state police alerted businesses of the theft and were contacted Oct. 11 by a jeweler at Concord Jewelry Express, who said Fortier had approached him with five of the items. The jeweler set up a second meeting with Fortier on Oct. 12. Vary drove.

The value of the five items combined was $73,000, Waldron said. Deputy County Attorney Catherine Ruffle, who worked with Waldron yesterday, was not certain of the value of the rest of the stolen goods, which were recovered after the arrests in a hotel room where Fortier was staying.

All the items were returned to the Wilmot couple.

Fortier pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of receiving stolen property and was sentenced to 3½ to seven years in state prison. Waldron said Fortier “was the driving force behind this crime.” She said Vary had a limited criminal history, including a few misdemeanor convictions.

Under the terms of the plea deal, Vary will be eligible for home confinement after 90 days. Her jail sentence begins tomorrow, due to an undisclosed scheduling conflict, Deputy County Attorney Catherine Ruffle said.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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