Hotel Beatrice employee charged with wedding theft
BEATRICE, Neb. (WOWT) – After the best day of their lives, a Nebraska couple endure shocking disgust and grief.
Wedding cards containing cash gifts were stolen from what they believed to be a secure reception room.
After a joyful wedding in June, Brent and Nicole McAllister share a video with the family that brings out emotions newlyweds shouldn’t be feeling.
“I’m angry, sad and hurt,” bride Nicole McAllister said.
A security camera in the reception hall captures a hotel employee stealing a bag full of wedding cards containing cash checks and gift cards from guests.
“And then we had to let them know the money was stolen and we never saw anything,” Brent McCallister said. “That kinda melts my heart, you know.”
But the police needed an amount for the level of the theft charge, so the family contacted all the wedding guests.
“The next day she planned to sit down and open her cards and see what everyone else had written,” said Karen Overton, the bride’s mother. “And instead she had to contact everyone and ask how much you gave me?”
A total of $6,095 was allegedly stolen.
For allegedly stealing the gift-filled wedding cards, 34-year-old Joshua Wilcox has been charged with theft.
Asked by 6 News, Wilcox said he was unaware of the theft. But the newlyweds say Wilcox told them something else.
“He apologized to us for taking them and said it was a last minute decision, and he got scared and threw them all in the trash,” Nicole McCallister said.
This gave hope to the family. After the suspect reportedly indicated he had thrown the cards away, the family members drove to a dumpster behind the hotel and dived into it.
But the trash can had been emptied hours before.
“We spent quite a bit of time there, rummaging through that dumpster out back to no avail,” grandpa Larry Huls said.
The bag of wedding cards was left in the reception hall as the family walked in and out while cleaning.
“I felt he was safe and I never imagined he would be stolen,” said the groom’s mother, Renee McCallister. “Maybe I trust people too much.”
Beatrice’s Holiday Inn Express says the former employee is in no way representative of the values of hotel staff and was immediately terminated. The owner says as a gesture of goodwill that the hotel covers banquet costs over $1,500. But it’s the cost of the parents, so the newlyweds what their loss has covered.
“$6,095 because that’s what was stolen from us on their property by their employee,” Nicole McCallister said.
The couple say some guests returned cash gifts and the theft after the wedding won’t rob them of happiness together.
“We’re going to settle everything for the honeymoon and the rest of our lives,” Brent McCallister said.
According to the arrest affidavit, Joshua Wilcox allegedly told police he took the wedding cards in a moment of poor judgment and threw them away. The trash was picked up before he could get it.
There is no mention of whether the cash, checks and gift cards were still in the wedding cards or not.
Wilcox is free on bail pending his next court appearance in September. The robbery suspect’s attorney declined to comment at this time.
“As a local business, we pride ourselves on ensuring that our guests have a positive experience at our hotel and express our sympathy that this happened to Mr and Mrs McAllister. Our former employee is in no way representative of the hospitality or values of our hotel staff, and he was immediately terminated. I understand that Mr. and Mrs. McAllister work with the authorities; however, in a gesture of goodwill, we are covering the full cost of their banquet fee of $1,561.92 for their wedding reception.
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