RUSKIN (FOX 13) - Imagine celebrating your wedding and, at the end of the night, when you go to pick up all of your gifts, they're gone. You later find out that someone stole them. It happened over the weekend to a Hillsborough County couple.
Lucky for them, someone snapped a picture of the suspected wedding crasher before she took off. Now, as the newlyweds head to their honeymoon, they're hoping detectives can track down whomever did it.
Photos from Saturday capture a beaming bride and groom. Marilyn and Matt Shuman met three years ago at Sunset Grille at Little Harbor in Ruskin.
"We watched our first sunset there, got married at the beginning of the pier where we watched our first sunset," Marilyn said.
As the reception wound down, the newlyweds went to gather their cards and gifts. But, nearly all were gone. That's when Marilyn recalled an unfamiliar guest -- a woman who claimed she was just checking out the venue.
She'd apparently told multiple stories. To some, she said she was there searching for her husband. To others, she was a guest.
"She told the boys that she was a guest and so they insisted on taking a picture of her and she took a picture and actually wrote in my photo guestbook," Marilyn said.
The message read, "Thanks for letting (me) share your special day" with a heart exclamation point. We aren't showing her face until she's officially named a suspect. But, surveillance video adds to Marilyn's suspicion.
"She leaves the reception with a big black bag and then she goes back in and comes out with a white bag, a little gift bag," Marilyn said. "She goes to the bathroom and she comes out of the bathroom and she leaves and we don't see her again."
She now thinks the stranger wasn't just a wedding crasher, but rather, a wedding criminal.
"It was kind of devastating, you know," Marilyn said. "We feel victimized, obviously, because we've just been basically robbed. It's a helpless feeling."
The photo has been shared hundreds of times online. Marilyn believes the woman walked out with around $2,000.
"She owes me an apology and my family and she should be ashamed of herself," Marilyn said.
Now, on the road to their honeymoon, the Shumans are doing their best to look forward, not back, hoping justice awaits when they return.
"That's not going to change the fact that we love each other," Marilyn said. "We are together and now, we are married and we are just going to move past this. Life is too short to hold bitterness. We will just leave it to the authorities to take care of this."
The Inn at Little Harbor isn't commenting on what happened, leaving it up to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
HCSO confirms they are investigating. A detective is combing through hours of surveillance video. If you know who may have taken the wedding gifts, give the sheriff's office a call.