A furious Californian bride robbed on her wedding day has taken to social media to unmask a serial thief known as the Bridal Bandit.
Californian bride Michelle Wilcox married her long-term partner Christopher Tietz on June 7 (2015) and, while the loved-up couple were saying their heartfelt vows, they were being robbed by petty thief Denise Burns.
Denise, 50, whose criminal record dates back to 1998, disguised herself as a wedding guest and waited for Michelle and Christopher’s ceremony to commence before sneaking into the unlocked bridal suite where she brazenly pocketed the bride’s purse and, shortly after, used her credit cards to purchase petrol as well as items from Target.
The newlyweds discovered the theft upon returning to the bridal suite after their wedding ceremony and, said the bride on Facebook, “It was quite a shocker.
“Thank Goodness (sic) for blessings, my cash, passport and checkbook were in a suitcase and therefore did not get taken.”
Though their big day was ruined, the not-so-happy couple left for their planned Canadian honeymoon.
They returned a few weeks later and, after obtaining surveillance footage from both the reception venue and Target, an infuriated Mrs Tietz took to Facebook. She implored her friends to help identify the offender – and it worked.Image: Michelle Tietz via Facebook
Since it was published, the post has been shared more than 2000 times and has received strong support from her friends and family – and quickly went international after it garnered local media attention.
Most importantly for Tietz’s investigation, her post prompted another suspected victim of Burns to come forward. A Californian caterer, Yvette Lynch, claimed she’d been robbed by someone fitting Burns’ description.
Lynch said she’d been working at a wedding at Santee’s Carlton Oaks Golf Course in San Diego, about an hour away from where Tietz married, when her purse was stolen from an unlocked office.
Lynch suggested that Burns targeted her rather than the bride because, at that wedding, the bridal suite was locked.
Tietz has contacted police who identified Burns and issued a $100,000 arrest warrant on charges of theft, burglary and identity theft.
The Bridal Bandit remains at large.