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Wedding crasher thief Joseph Franzone surrenders

By Randy Kraft, WFMZ.com Reporter, RKraft@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 12 2013 04:00:49 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 12 2013 05:34:54 PM CDT

"Put it in the backseat, closed the door, walked back into the venue to get more gifts and within a minute of coming back out it was stolen," said Jillian Bowie.

BLUE BELL, Pa. -

A man charged with stealing wedding gift envelopes containing $3,000 to $5,000 surrendered to law enforcement authorities Friday.

Joseph P. Franzone Jr., whose image was captured on surveillance cameras outside a wedding reception, turned himself in to Magisterial District Judge Robert Sobeck's office in Blue Bell  at 11:30 a.m. Friday.

The thirty-five-year-old suspect resides at 324 Cherry Alley in Bridgeport, Montgomery County.

The theft occurred about 7:30 p.m. Sunday during a wedding reception in William Penn Inn, 1017 DeKalb Pike in Lower Gwynedd Township.

The police criminal complaint identifies the victimized newlyweds as Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Bowie.

Lower Gwynedd Police were contacted during the reception by Jill Bowie, the bride's sister-in-law. Bowie had placed a wedding-cake-shaped box containing the envelopes in a vehicle, which was left unlocked. The theft was discovered when she returned to the vehicle about twp minutes later.

Ryan Bowie, the bridegroom, watched videotape from the inn's surveillance camera. He told police he saw suspicious man enter the banquet area, look around and leave. The same individual was observed sitting in a gray vehicle in the parking lot near the banquet hall.

After photos of the suspect were taken from that video and released to local news media, Lower Gwynedd police received 19 different tips that Franzone was the person in the pictures.

Police learned Franzone lived in Bridgeport with his girlfriend, Katie Castaldi. On Wednesday, Castaldi met with Police Chief Paul Kenny and Lt. Bruce Hames. She signed a consent form allowing them to search her gray Mazda.

She said Franzone borrowed her car on Sunday, telling her that he was going "to the casinos."

Beneath the front passenger seat of the car, Kenny found a gold wedding card with writing on the front that said: "The New Mr. and Mrs." The card was signed Michael and Antoinetta Jacobs. Castaldi told police she does not know a Michael or Antoinetta Jacobs and had no idea why a car with their names would be inside her car.

Ed Veto, father of the bride, told police that couple was among the 86 guests at the wedding.

According to police, the suspect staked out the wedding reception for hours. Veto told police other family members noticed a man lingering around who didn't seem to belong there

Castaldi state Franzone was laid off from his job three weeks ago. She said he borrows her car to purchase percocet. She said he also has a gambling hiabit and frequents the Valley Forge casino.

She identified Franzone was the man in the digital photos taken from  the surveillance cameras.

Franzone was charged with theft by unlawful taking, theft from a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property.

Franzone is in  Montgomery County Prison. Bail was set at $150,000.