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July 5, 2014

Gallant groom chases down wedding thief

JOPLIN, Mo. — Jared Lightle never anticipated that when he renewed his marriage vows Saturday, he would have to chase some guy from the wedding hall, yelling: “Stop! Thief! Stop!”

Yet, that’s what Lightle did — in tuxedo and patent leather shoes, no less — when an uninvited guest swiped his and his bride Stephanie’s wedding gifts from a table in the lobby of the Scottish Rite Temple in downtown Joplin, Missouri.

The 28-year-old groom received plenty of assistance apprehending the culprit — from his brother and father, who helped give chase, to onlookers at a traffic accident nearby, who pointed out which way the thief fled.

A police officer finally caught the suspect a few blocks away, still allegedly in possession of several gift cards and cash taken from the wedding.

Rosario Caruso, 31, was charged with larceny, trespassing and resisting arrest.

Caruso reportedly was spotted removing cards from a gift table in the lobby as the wedding reception was winding down about 8:15 p.m. in a downstairs room of the temple.

Lightle happened to be outside in the parking lot, placing his brother’s gift in the wedding couple’s car, when his mother emerged and called out to him that a man was spotted stealing their gifts. She pointed at a man across the street. He was walking away with what Lightle could see were wedding cards in his hands.

“Hey, hold on a minute!,” the groom called to him.

The suspect looked back but kept walking and then broke into a run when Lightle called out a second time. He yelled: “Stop! Thief! Stop!,” and the chase ensued.

“If we hadn’t caught the guy, it would have ended an otherwise perfect celebration on a very bitter note,” the groom said. “But, since the police caught him and it appears justice will be served, I guess we’re going to have a very unique wedding story to tell the rest of our lives."

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