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California 'Bridal Bandit' Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 12, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Denise Gunderson had a pretty sweet racket going: show up to weddings (uninvited, of course), mingle, have a good time, and go home with stolen wallets, credit cards, and cash. Now, the woman who ruined so many honeymoons will be serving seven years of her own in a San Diego prison after pleading guilty to grand theft and identity theft.

Her crime spree may be over, but the newlyweds she robbed might never get their money back.

She Stole Everything Delightful

To Gunderson, nothing, apparently, was sacred. Her victims included brides, wedding guests, and wedding workers and the Bridal Bandit hit up weddings from Riverside to San Diego. Law enforcement finally caught up with her in Las Vegas last year, where she was arrested for stealing a wallet in a church.

Investigators estimate Gunderson made off with thousands of dollars, uses victims' stolen cash and cards to buy gift cards and other items at Costco, Target, Walmart, and other stores. In some cases, surveillance cameras caught the Bridal Bandit using stolen credit cards mere minutes after unsuspecting brides had taken their vows.

Down by the Riverside

Back in February Gunderson pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft and two counts of identity theft, and agreed to serve her time in a San Diego County prison as part of that deal. But prosecutors up a couple hours north in Riverside won't be too pleased if that's where she stays.

John Hall with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office told Los Angeles' KABC he hopes to see her in another courtroom soon. "We need to get justice for the victims in our county," he said. "Ultimately, we expect that she'll be transported here from San Diego County." If extradited, the Bridal Bandit would be facing 11 felony counts in Riverside, ranging from burglary to grand theft.

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