MILTON, Ga. - A wedding planner saves the day when she helps police captures a wedding crasher who is now charged with theft. Police say the uninvited guest was trying to steal from the bride and groom.
"In my line of work, you have to have a high attention to detail," said Ashley Baber of Ashley Baber Weddings.
Baber has been a wedding planner for 15 years. She's conducted weddings across the southeast, and the one on Saturday night in Milton at Little River Farms was perfect. The party was in full swing and guests were focused on the happy couple, Nick and Tiffany. But Baber's focus was on a woman who seemed out of place.
"She was holding a jacket in an odd manner, and the fact that she had a jacket, I mean it was 90 degrees on Saturday," said Baber.
Baber had been on high alert after some gifts turned up missing at one of her previous events earlier in the summer. Then, last month, after a theft at a wedding in Marietta, the event planner there sent out an email to those in the Atlanta event industry with a surveillance photo of a person of interest.
"The email said she had been seen at various weddings around town. When I realized this person was acting out of character, I made the connection that she looked similar to the photo," said Baber.
Baber confronted the woman and notified police who say the woman, Kristina Dardo, had envelopes loaded with cash and gift cards on her. According to the police report, it added up to $2,300.
Baber says this has happened before and people get away with it because there are so many people at weddings, from organizers to caterers to guests, and there's a lot going on. She says if you plan to give the bride and groom checks or gift cards, mail them. "If you need to bring a gift to a wedding, make sure it goes to a wedding planner, a family member, the bride and groom themselves, rather than leave it on a table," said Baber.
Kristina Dardo is charged with felony theft by taking. Milton Police say they are working with other agencies to determine if Dardo is the same person who crashed weddings in other jurisdictions and stole gifts.