CLEARWATER, Fla. — A Clearwater couple who were celebrating with their wedding guests last weekend at a Bradenton venue got some very bad news the day after their reception — they learned they were victims of a thief.
- Crime caught on surveillance video
- Video footage showed license plate of suspect's car
- Family has started GoFundMe campaign to raise money for what was lost
- More Pinellas County news
A bag containing Chris and Emma Cox's marriage license, wedding cards, and thousands of dollars in cash, checks, and gift cards was stolen from the groom's truck shortly after the festivities ended at The Pavilion at Mixon Farms around 11 p.m. Saturday.
The venue's security cameras reportedly recorded footage of a woman in a suit entering the parking lot in a silver SUV and parking in various spots. At one point, she got out of the vehicle and entered the venue.
At the time of the theft, the bride's father reportedly pulled into a roundabout near the parking lot in the groom's truck to facilitate loading.
"So [Emma's father] just grabbed a couple of bags, brought it to the truck, pulled the truck up and then, when he walked away, the bag was the only bag in the backseat of my truck," Chris Cox explained.
While Emma's father went back inside the venue to retrieve other items, the woman walked across the roundabout to the truck and stole the bag.
"She came right to the back door, grabbed the bag and shut it and walked," Chris said.
The woman then made her way back to her vehicle using a garden path surrounded by trees and drove away.
The venue's security footage did capture the license plate number on the woman's vehicle.
In a Facebook post, The Pavilion at Mixon Farms asked for the public's help in tracking down the woman seen committing the theft. They also expressed the belief that the thief had help from either a vendor or a guest at the event.
Staff at The Pavilion want to know if any other venues have experienced anything similar so they can compare items such as the vendor list.
"I’ve been here over five years and the director before me, nothing has ever happened like that here before," said Brandy Harlan, the venue's marketing director. "So that’s why I really feel like this is an inside job, that somebody was watching, gave the green light and then it was she was on property and in that truck within 45 seconds."
The couple reportedly filed a police report the next day. They estimated gifts from the 166 guests at the wedding totaled between $3,000 and $5,000.
Family members of the victims have since started a GoFundMe campaign to help replace what was lost. To learn more or to make a donation, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/helping-the-newlyweds.
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