Thief robs newlyweds of gifts, memories
The last thing a Polk County newlywed couple could have expected to happen on their special day is to be robbed of every card, check and cash present their guests had brought them. Yet that's exactly what happened to Chris and Lacy Freeman. "We trusted every person" at the wedding, said Lacy Freeman "We would have never thought this would have happened to us." The couple planned a dream wedding at the lakefront Mackay Gardens at Lake Alfred. As they were getting married outside, however, inside the reception house on the property a nightmare unfolded."We walked back through the door," Lacey Freeman said. "Chris' mother asked if someone put our cards into safekeeping." The cards, checks and cash were supposed to be in a specially decorated antique birdcage, but instead all $5,000 worth were stolen. "We were going to use it for our honeymoon," Freeman said, adding they had planned a week in Costa Rica. Chris Freeman said even after police arrived to investigate, the guests tried to enjoy themselves. "Yeah, we had a great time, but it still ruined half of the happiest day of our life." Lacey's sister and maid of honor had a stronger reaction. "My heels were coming off and my fists were … balled. I was mad," Emily McKinney said. Lake Alfred's police chief said no suspect has been identified yet, but the investigation is still very active. There were people who weren't guests inside the reception house during the wedding, but the newlyweds don't want to point any fingers until the police are ready to make accusations. They do want the thief, though, to understand what was truly taken from them. "That was our day," Lacey Freeman said. "They didn't just rob our money and our gifts. They robbed our day. They robbed us of every good emotion that we should have had." Police said since the Freemans hadn't actually received the gifts, they are treating each guest as an individual victim, which means the thief could ultimately face multiple charges in court.
News Channel 8 reporter Jennifer Leigh contributed to this report.