'Wedding Crasher Thief' gets no jail-time relief
Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy on Tuesday handed down an order throwing out a motion filed on behalf of Joseph P. Franzone Jr. to reduce the four- to- eight-year state prison sentence she gave him in July for stealing or attempting to steal wedding cards containing money and checks given by guests to four area newlywed couples on their wedding day.
The judge at that same July sentencing hearing also ordered Franzone, 37, formerly of Bridgeport, to serve an additional six-year probation sentence after he completes his parole time and to pay a combined $12,935 in restitution during his parole/probation time.
“We just believed that, under the individual circumstances of this case, the sentence was excessive and harsh,” said defense attorney Sharon R. Meisler.
In her petition asking the judge to reconsider the sentence, Meisler cited Franzone’s addiction to painkillers following an accident, his cooperation with authorities and his sincere remorse.
Franzone came to the attention of authorities on July 7, 2013, at the time of a wedding reception at the William Penn Inn in Lower Gwynedd.
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During that reception a family member and two others were helping out the newly married couple by transferring wedding gifts from a table in the vestibule area and taking the items to their cars.
One of the items was a large white box in the shape of a wedding cake that contained cash, checks and cards from some of the 86 guests attending the reception.
Leaving the car unlocked, the family member went back for additional gifts. On her return, she discovered the box containing the envelopes was missing.
Police place the value of the missing gifts and envelopes at $3,000 to $5,000.
The groom, reviewing surveillance video with the family member, told police that he observed a man in a green shirt walk into the banquet area, look around and leave. Neither the groom nor the family member could identify the man, who was not an invited guest to the wedding reception.
Surveillance video also showed the man sitting in a gray vehicle parked near the banquet hall.
The theft was reported and broadcast in the local media on July 9, 2013. These reports contained surveillance photographs taken at the William Penn Inn.
Police immediately began receiving tips from the public, including 19 tips that identified the man in the surveillance video as Joseph Franzone.
A subsequent investigation linked Franzone to two other similar thefts. One occurred at the RiverCrest Golf Club and Preserve in Upper Providence on June 22, 2013, while the second took place at the Leola Village Inn and Suites in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County, on June 29, 2013.
The attempted theft happened on June 29, 2013, at a wedding reception held at The Stone Barn in West Marlborough Township in Chester County.
That theft was thwarted when a wedding guest, outside having a cigarette, spotted a man carrying a wedding basket filled with envelopes racing out of the building. The man, later identified as Franzone, crashed into the wedding guest, who was able to grab hold of the basket. Franzone released his hold on the basket and continued fleeing, according to the criminal complaint.
Franzone pleaded guilty in March to three theft charges and an attempted theft charge. While he kept the cash to purchase the pills, Franzone said, he tore up the checks.read more: SheinDressAU wedding dresses online australia