San Diego

‘Bridal Bandit' Admits to Stealing From Brides, Guests

Denise Gunderson pleaded guilty to grand theft and identity theft

A San Diego woman, dubbed the "Bridal Bandit" by authorities, admitted Wednesday to stealing wallets and credit cards from brides, guests and workers while they were at wedding ceremonies.

Denise Gunderson pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft and two counts of identity theft, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's office.

Prosecutors said Gunderson made thousands of dollars in fraudulent credit card charges after posing as a wedding guest and rifling through the bags of wedding attendees.

Gunderson, who also goes by the last name Burns, was linked to thefts in Pala Mesa, Coronado, Carlton Oaks and David’s Bridal. Victims’ stolen cards were used to buy gift cards and other merchandise at places like Costco, Walmart and Target.

According to prosecutors, surveillance cameras caught Gunderson using the stolen credit cards, sometimes just minutes after the brides walked down the aisle. She was arrested in Las Vegas in December, accused of stealing a wallet at a church.

Investigators said Gunderson initially lied about her identity, and once they discovered her true name, they found she was wanted in Riverside and San Diego counties on multiple charges.

In her guilty plea, Gunderson admitted to having three separate prior convictions. She agreed to serve seven years in a local prison, though a judge will give her a definite sentence on March 24.

Newlywed Michelle Tietz told NBC 7 her credit cards were stolen on June 7 during her wedding at the Pala Mesa resort in Fallbrook. More than $1,000 charges were made on her card, she realized it when she and her husband were getting ready to leave on their honeymoon.

Yvette Lynch, the catering director at Santee’s Carlton Oaks Golf Course, had her wallet stolen from the purse she left in her office during a wedding. She shared surveillance video with NBC 7 that showed a woman walking around the golf course the day of the theft, allegedly posing as a lost guest.

Contact Us