FLORENCE, Ala. – On Friday, Florence police discussed a case involving a woman wanted for around a dozen wedding crasher thefts.
Police said they arrested Sandra Lynn Henson after she turned herself in on Thursday. Henson faces charges of third-degree theft of property and fourth-degree theft of property.
“Nowhere in my mind did I think somebody stole things,” First Christian Church administrative assistant Tammy Hendrix said.
But Hendrix, like everyone attending Anna and Lee Todd’s wedding in Florence in June, had a sickening feeling when the party was over.
“They went through trash, they went through surveillance videos. They were the ones who had the instinct of something’s not right,” theft victim Anna Perez Todd said.
Combing through the video, Hendrix is now credited for capturing the face of a woman wanted for a string of thefts.
“What she did was just so unnerving,” Hendrix said.
“I don’t think she had much choice but to cooperate. I think the video made her turn herself in,” Anna said.
With several tips, Florence police identified and talked on the phone to Henson, to get her version of what happened when she was spotted at several weddings around Florence in June.
“I’ve been contacted by 12 people at 12 weddings in Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi,” Florence police detective Josh Hein said.
Newlyweds and families told police they saw Henson walking through their receptions, helping herself to gift envelopes and money from purses in the wedding party changing rooms.
“None of the checks or gift cards she took have been used,” Det. Hein said.
“She happened upon some weddings? I don’t believe that for a second,” theft victim Jensen Nicholson said. “There’s no way she can just happen upon some of them.”
Henson turned herself into Florence police on Thursday. She now faces two theft charges, and a warrant from Nicholson’s wedding in Limestone County, where the couple says she paid an uninvited visit in March.
“There’s no way she could just happen upon some of them,” Jensen’s husband Adam said.
“It also allowed for her victims to find each other,” Anna said.
With the start of the school year, Anna and new husband Lee are focused on their daughter Aria. The gifts from their wedding were meant to go to the FoxG1 Foundation, a syndrome Aria lives with.
“I’m just glad they got her, so everyone now knows,” Lee Todd said.
“She stole from us that day, but she didn’t steal our joy or our happiness. She didn’t ruin our day,” Nicholson said.
The victims are miles apart, but they agree on a few factors. They doubt they’ll ever see a dime returned.
They credited the arrest to “a multitude of tips generated by extensive local and national media coverage.”
On Friday, the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office sent out a warrant for Henson’s arrest on a misdemeanor theft charge from Kirby’s wedding this spring.
Henson paid a $2,500 bond and was released from Lauderdale County Detention Center.