PORTSMOUTH — Arraigned Monday on charges alleging he pawned stolen gold and was caught stealing sneakers from a mall store, James Morphy told a judge he was “caught up in a gang” that steals shoes and was beaten when he refused to do so.
Morphy, 19, with no permanent address, was arrested by Newington police after a J C Penney employee reported the theft of a $65 pair of Adidas sneakers. Police allege the Saturday theft was committed by Morphy, who led store security on a chase, during which a glass store door was shattered. Following Morphy's arrest, officers learned he was wanted on a warrant for pawning two gold chains that were stolen in Barrington, police allege.
Arraigned by video from the Rockingham County House of Corrections, Morphy was charged with a pair of felonies alleging he pawned two pieces of gold jewelry and collected $650 for each. He was also arraigned on a misdemeanor count of shoplifting.
Police Capt. Brian Newcomer petitioned the court for cash bail noting Morphy has reported four different addresses “depending on the occasion.” The police captain said Morphy's criminal history includes thefts in Maine and burglaries in Florida.
Morphy said he was “running with the wrong crowd,” called the judge's attention to a cut over his right eye and said it was inflicted by someone in the so-called shoe-stealing gang when he refused to steal shoes.
“There's no shoe-stealing gang,” Newcomer said after the hearing.
Judge Sawako Gardner ordered Morphy held on $2,500 cash bail and said if he is able to post it, he must observe a 6 p.m. curfew and obtain employment within two weeks of his release. He was also scheduled to return to the district court for a Sept. 1 probable cause hearing.
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