Update: ‘Bridal Bandit’ sentenced to seven years in state prison

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Wednesday —  Denise Gunderson was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in state prison.

9:30 a.m. — The rescheduled sentencing for a woman who stole wallets and credit cards from attendees at weddings in San Diego will occur Tuesday. 

Denise Gunderson pleaded guilty in February to grand theft and identity theft, admitting that she had been to prison three times. She is expected to be sentenced to seven years in local custody. 

Between last July and October, women getting married in San Diego and Riverside counties reported that their wallets had been stolen during their nuptials.

Surveillance video captured images of Gunderson at several of the weddings, and also show her later using the victims’ credit cards at stores, racking up thousands of dollars in illicit charges, sheriff’s Detective Lisa Jenkins said.

Prosecutors said Gunderson has been to prison seven times before.

3/31/2016 – Sentencing set for Thursday was postponed to April 6 for a woman who stole wallets from brides, bridesmaids and others at four weddings in San Diego.

Denise Gunderson, 50, pleaded guilty in February to two counts of grand theft and identity theft. She is expected to be sentenced to seven years in local custody.

Prosecutors said Gunderson went into unsecured rooms at wedding venues and stole the wallets of those taking part in the ceremonies. The San Diego Sheriff’s Department said she was arrested Dec. 6 after she allegedly stole a wallet at a Las Vegas church.

Between last July and October, women getting married in San Diego and Riverside counties reported that their wallets had been stolen during their nuptials.

Surveillance video captured images of Gunderson at several of the weddings, and also show her later using the victims’ credit cards at stores, racking up thousands of dollars in illicit charges, sheriff’s Detective Lisa Jenkins said.

Prosecutors said Gunderson has been to prison seven times before.

She admitted to three prison priors as part of her plea agreement.

2/20/2016 – A woman who stole wallets and credit cards from brides, bridesmaids and others during four weddings in San Diego pleaded guilty Wednesday to grand theft and identity theft charges.

Denise Gunderson, 50, also admitted that she has been to prison three times. She will be sentenced on March 24 to seven years in local custody.

12/31/2015 – Denise Gunderson, accused of stealing wallets and credit cards from bridal parties during wedding ceremonies, pleaded not guilty Thursday to 25 charges, including burglary, grand theft and identity theft.

Gunderson — who has been to prison seven times — faces 19 years behind bars if convicted.

Judge David Szumowski ordered the defendant held on $250,000 bail.

Deputy District Attorney Brendan McHugh said Gunderson allegedly went into unsecured rooms and stole the wallets of people involved in the wedding, including wedding coordinators.

"I haven’t seen anything like it,” the prosecutor said of the brazen crimes. "I’m sure it was terrible for them (the victims).”

Gunderson, 50, was arrested Dec. 6 in Las Vegas, where she was arrested for allegedly stealing a wallet at a church, according to San Diego County sheriff’s Detective Lisa Jenkins.

Though Gunderson allegedly lied about her identity to Nevada authorities, detectives soon discovered that she was wanted on various theft charges in Southern California, Jenkins said.

Between July and October, women getting married in San Diego and Riverside counties reported that their wallets had been stolen during their nuptials. Surveillance video captured images of Gunderson at several of the weddings, and also show her later using the victims’ credit cards at stores, racking up thousands of dollars in illicit charges, Jenkins said.

The charges in San Diego are the result of a joint investigation by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside Sheriff’s Department and the La Mesa Police Department, McHugh said.

Gunderson will be back in court Jan. 12 for a readiness conference and Jan. 14 for a preliminary hearing.

12/9/2015 – A woman wanted in connection with a string of thefts during wedding ceremonies is now in custody.

Denise Gunderson, a.k.a Denise Burns, 50, was arrested on December 6th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

She was taken into custody on charges of stealing a wallet at a church. Even though, Gunderson lied about her identity, detectives soon discovered she was wanted on various charges in San Diego and Riverside Counties. 

Between July and October 2015, brides in San Diego and Riverside Counties reported their wallets being stolen during their wedding ceremonies. Surveillance video captured Gunderson at several of the weddings in Coronado, La Mesa and within the jurisdictions of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

The videos also show Gunderson using the victims’ credit cards at several retail stores racking up thousands of dollars in charges.

Gunderson is facing multiple counts of burglary, identity theft and grand theft.

She is currently being held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas and is awaiting extradition back to San Diego County to face charges.

11/17/2015 – A $100,000 arrest warrant is out for the woman police call the "Bridal Bandit."

The first ripoff happened this summer in Fallbrook and again a few months later in Coronado and again at weddings in Santee and Temecula. 

Police now say the woman in the surveillance video is the bridal bandit – Denise Louise Burns – also known as Denise Gunderson.

Sheriff’s detective say the 50-year-old woman will dress up like a wedding guest and slip into crowded venues where she’ll then rifle through purses, taking cash, credit cards  and checks.

The bench warrant is for grand theft, identity theft and burglary in the series of crimes here in San Diego County.

Police said she walked into wedding venues, stealing from the bride, bridesmaids or guests of the wedding.

She is still on the loose, but authorities are asking for help in locating here. 

7/30/2015 – Someone is ripping off brides and grooms on their special day and the Bridal Bandit is still on the loose.

But on Tuesday, there was new information about her that could possibly help solve the case.

A perfect picture on what was supposed to be the perfect day, but little did the bride know, at that moment, someone was trying to ruin her special day.

Deputies said when Michelle Wilcox Tietz was walking down the aisle this past June at Pala mesa Resort in Fallbrook, a woman went into her bridal suite and stole her wallet.

According to bank statements, the woman tried to use Michelle’s credit card just minutes later at a nearby gas station.

Michelle immediately called the police and then turned to social media. 

She posted pictures of the suspect on Facebook and since then, the story has gone viral.

She said it’s because of social media, detectives have been able to get new leads.

Michelle said at least two of the people who contacted her through social media are credible leads that authorities are looking into. 

Categories: KUSI