A woman accused of stealing wallets from numerous brides on their wedding day (their wedding day!) in Riverside and San Diego counties was arrested on Sunday in Las Vegas.
Denise Gunderson, a 50-year-old Corona resident, faces multiple felonies including burglary, identity and grand theft. The suspect is also known by the name Denise Burns.
Here is how police say she went about her crimes, via San Diego Union Tribune:
Authorities said Gunderson has dressed up like a wedding guest and slipped into crowded venues, where she rifles through purses and sneaks out with credit cards, cash and checks belonging to members of the bridal party. The thefts seem to happen during the ceremony, when the purses are left unattended.
Authorities believe at least 11 women were victims of Gunderson dating back to 2012.
Police caught her over the weekend, when they say she also tried to sell out her family:
On Sunday, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police arrested Gunderson, 50, after she was reportedly caught trying to steal a wallet at a Romanian Orthodox church. While talking to police, Burns initially provided a false name. On further questioning, she gave the officer a second name and was then arrested for providing false identification, LVMPD Officer Michael Rodriguez said.
Turned out that the second name wasn’t her real name either. It was actually her sister’s name, San Diego County Sheriff’s Detective Lisa Jenkins said.
Vegas police almost let her go – but, thanks to an anonymous tip called into the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department the same say, discovered the true identity of the woman they were holding.
One of the brides that investigators say Gunderson stole from was Michelle Tietz who had a wallet stolen from her bridal suite at Pala Mesa Resort in Fallbrook in July. A short time later, surveillance footage showed Gunderson charging $1,400 at a Target with Tietz’s wallet in hand.
Tietz told ABC 7, “She specifically targeted brides, knowing that she was literally going to wreck their best day ever.”