On the busiest weekend of the entire year to get married, an uninvited guest was nabbed stealing more than $2,000 worth of gifts at a wedding near Atlanta, Georgia. Police indicated that they believe the woman had committed similar acts of theft previously in the area.
Kristina Ann Dardo was caught when an alert wedding planner noticed the woman dressed and acting suspiciously. An off-duty officer then approached the woman who eventually admitted to having stolen about $2,300 in cash and gift cards that she was hiding beneath her oversized jacket, according to police. She was arrested on a felony theft charge and was taken to the Fulton County jail.
The theft took place on the most popular day of the year for weddings to be held, according to data released by the wedding planning website, the Knot. Almost 29,000 weddings across the US were scheduled for August 18 alone. Wedding planning and registry site Zola which looked at the data of 500,000 users on its site, reports that the end of summer is seen as the ideal time to hold a wedding, largely because of weather factors.
Guests invited to weddings incur a large expense with an average guest dishing out $261 on the event, including the gift, attire, and accessories. This figure adds up to a $1 billion dollars spent collectively by wedding guests in one weekend, not even including travel expenses.
The gift for the bride and groom contributes to a significant portion of this expense. Members of the wedding party spend more than average guests, with bridesmaids and groomsmen spending approximately $107 on the gift while regular wedding guests spend just under $90. Opportunistic thieves are aware that this season is a lucrative time for them to commit acts of theft at the weddings of unsuspecting couples.
According to the Knot’s data, thirty-four percent of guests choose to buy items from the couples’ registries, 29 percent give a monetary gift, and 10 percent choose to give gift cards. Cash gifts and gift cards are especially vulnerable to being stolen amidst the celebratory commortion of a wedding if they are not locked in a safe or lock box.
Other gifts which are highly popular according to the Knot’s data – and less susceptible to being stolen – include a KitchenAid stand mixer, Ninja blender, Dyson vacuum, iRobot Roomba, and an air fryer. Other more innovative gift ideas include gift baskets, a luxury throw, wine flutes, or a customized chess set or other game, a tiered cake stand or silk robes.
Regarding the theft in Georgia, local authorities are still investigating if Dardo is connected to similar crimes at other weddings in Marietta, Roswell, Norcross and Canton.