Jodi McMaster was a blushing bride snapping pictures with fellow teacher friends when her father broke the news.
An unknown woman was stealing cards from her wedding reception.
"I kind of thought, 'I can't believe someone would do that.' Two young kids starting off. How could you do that?" the 28-year-old Canton, Mich., newlywed said yesterday.
The Saline, Mich., teacher went to Maumee Municipal Court for a pretrial conference for a former Woodward High School teacher accused in the crime.
Victoria A. Cramer, 27, of 421 Islington St. is charged with petty theft and receiving stolen property, both misdemeanors, for the June 16 crime at the Pinnacle in Maumee.
Her case and monitored recognizance bond, including an order to not go to the Pinnacle, was continued until Wednesday.
She previously pleaded not guilty to both charges, according to court records.
Ms. Cramer and her attorney, Tom Stebbins, declined comment yesterday.
The McMasters' reception alleg-edly wasn't the only one Ms. Cramer attended.
She is accused of taking five cards off the gift table at Crystal and Kristopher Barnswell's wedding reception and putting them in her purse.
When she tried to leave, she was stopped by several people who saw her take the cards.
The bride's mother recovered the cards and returned them to the table, court records indicate.
A Lucas County sheriff's deputy was notified of the situation at the Barnswell wedding and searched Ms. Cramer's car, finding a bag with two envelopes addressed to the McMasters.
One envelope was opened and empty, the other had $100 in it, records state.
"It's very low," Sheriff's Lt. Bobby Leist said. "In 30 years, I've had a lot of con games. This is a first."
The situation also was awkward for Mrs. McMaster's mother, Su Johnson, who had to call attendees who didn't appear to give a gift.
The Perrysburg Township woman had to find out whether they gave a gift, to help authorities determine what was taken. She said about $625 in checks and cash was missing.
Ms. Johnson said she found out later that Ms. Cramer allegedly took a card from her daughter's reception to a reception at the Holiday Inn French Quarter in Perrysburg Township, used it as a decoy, and left it when she was approached by the groom about why she was inside he and his bride's money box.
"She said she was at the wrong reception and was trying to get [her card] back out," Ms. Johnson said.
Ms. Cramer went back to the Pinnacle, where she was caught, Lieutenant Leist said.
After learning someone was stealing items from boxes at a neighboring reception, Ms. Johnson said she hid her daughter and son-in-law's card box under a table.
Later, when Ms. Cramer was being handcuffed in the parking lot, Ms. Johnson talked with her.
"I told her, 'I hope you get some counseling so you won't be a thief your whole life.' " Ms. Johnson said.
She said Ms. Cramer said she was sorry, to which Ms. Johnson said she replied:
"If you were sorry, you wouldn't have done it."
Ms. Johnson said yesterday she still hopes Ms. Cramer receives counseling.
Ms. Cramer taught at Woodward High School from 2002 to 2004, when she resigned at the end of the year, said Patty Mazur, a Toledo Public Schools spokesman.
Lieutenant Leist said Ms. Cramer dressed to fit in at the receptions.
He said investigators believe she was by herself at the receptions, but was dropped off by someone else.
Investigators will review wedding videos to determine if Ms. Cramer may have attended and stolen items from other receptions.
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