By Brad Segall and Walt Hunter
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — A Montgomery County man will spend at least four years in state prison after crashing weddings in three counties last summer stealing more than $12,000 in gifts.
A Montgomery County judge slammed wedding thief Joseph Franzone with a tough sentence in state prison for slipping into four wedding receptions in Montgomery , Chester and Lancaster Counties last summer, stealing cash, gifts, even, in one case, the bride’s shoes and veil.
Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy called Joseph Franzone a “one-man crime spree” who preyed on vulnerable victims as they were celebrating one of the most special days in their lives (see related story).
The 36-year-old Bridgeport, Pa. man was sentenced today to four to eight years in prison after stealing boxes with gifts at weddings in Montgomery and Lancaster counties, and an attempted theft in Chester County (another related story).
Two brides who were victimized at their receptions tearfully took the witness stand, describing how Franzone’s actions had taken much of the joy from their special day.
One victim, Caitlin Adams, testified that the thief, who plead guilty, took nearly $8,000 which she and her new husband had planned to use as a down payment on their first home.
Franzone was tracked down after video from a theft at the William Penn Inn was released by police, and he surrendered last July.
The admitted thief apologized to victims in court, telling them he needed and used the money to feed his narcotics addiction.
Franzone’s attorney says he was addicted to prescription painkillers at the time and spent the cash on pills.
“He’s not a bad guy,” defense attorney Sharon Meisler said. “What he did was a bad thing, but he’s not a bad guy.”
But Maryann Bowie, mother of the groom victimized at the William Penn Inn, responded, “the impact is that someone can just come in, and destroy your day, it’s horrible.”
Bowie also said, “I guess when you’re on that level, if you are into drugs and you really don’t know what you’re doing, you just go for it,” she mused afterward, “and when you straighten up you realize, ‘What did I do?’ ”
One victim said it was more than just money — that the innocence of her special day was stolen.