Person of interest questioned in wedding crasher theft case
Updated On: Aug 15 2014 05:52:48 PM CDT
A person of interest is being questioned by police after a Madison Catholic church was hit by a thief for the second time in the last year, when a robber struck during a wedding.
A suspect in the case has been arrested. Michael J. McDonald, a 57-year-old Madison man, has been charged with possession of stolen property. Additional tentative charges are pending.
Amanda and Ryan Kartos were married at St. Bernard's Catholic Church on Atwood Avenue on July 26, and say that during the ceremony someone stole wallets and a phone out of the room in the basement where the women of the wedding party had stored their personal items.
"I know a couple people talked about setting purses aside, but you just forget about it," said Amanda Kartos. "You just forget about it. And we felt comfortable, it was all our friends and family, and it was a church."
A number of bridesmaids had their wallets stolen, and Kartos' phone was also taken from the church hall.
Madison police keyed in on a photo from after the wedding that shows a man dressed in coat and tie leaving the Nekoosa Trail Walmart after a bridesmaid's credit card was used. Cameras also caught an image of his maroon SUV.
"We're hopeful that we're going to be able to identify at least this person that we have some surveillance video on," said Madison Police Public Information Officer Joel DeSpain. "Whether this is the person who took the wallets we really don't know at this time."
Police also can't say whether this case is related to one from December where a card box was stolen from St. Bernards during a funeral. The perpetrator has not been found.
The Kartos' said that wedding guests say the man in the Walmart photo saw the man in the church at the wedding and thought he was a family member. They say while they expected hiccups on their wedding day, they did not expect this.
"You expect the cake to come a different color or your tux not fitting just right," said Ryan Kartos. "But to have this happen it's just kind of surreal, especially being in what's supposed to be a safe environment like a church."
"I just want him to be embarrassed and be punished," Amanda said of the perpetrator. "I don't want it to happen to anyone else."
Officials at St. Bernards said they are very concerned about the incidents and are making some changes. They have a new card box for funerals that would be difficult to lift, donated by the funeral theft victim's family. They've also installed a keypad lock on the church hall downstairs, and will be installing surveillance cameras this fall.
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