PRICE — In their 2005 hit comedy, actors Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn crashed weddings for laughs.
On Friday night, police say Richard Duran and Tarnya Muir crashed a wedding for cash.
"We believe they looked in the paper, there was a (wedding) announcement, they saw that and they decided, 'Let's go to that reception,'" Price Police Capt. Bill Barnes said.
Duran and Muir asked one of Duran's cousins to drive them to the LDS church at 300 W. 500 South in Price just before 9 p.m. Friday, saying they wanted to wish the bride and groom well, Barnes said.
Once inside the meetinghouse, Muir made her way to a table where guests had piled their gifts and cards for the newlyweds, Ryan and Keosha Rasmussen, according to witnesses.
"My 82-year-old mother saw the lady put (the cards) in her purse," said Kaye Rasmussen, the mother of the groom.
One of Rasmussen's daughters approached Muir and asked whether she'd taken anything from the gift table, Rasmussen said. Muir said she hadn't and turned to leave.
"My daughter followed her and could see the envelopes in the purse, so she grabbed the purse and knocked the lady down," Rasmussen said. "The lady kicked her."
That's when witnesses said Duran stepped in. He wrestled the purse away from Rasmussen's daughter and helped Muir get to the waiting car in the parking lot.
The father of the groom and a family friend climbed into a car and chased Duran and Muir while other family members called police. Officers arrived just as the brief chase ended on the outskirts of Price.
"Approximately 20 cards in all were recovered," Barnes said, adding that there was a total of $550 in the cards.
Duran, who had three warrants for his arrest, refused to speak with police, the captain said. Muir did talk with officers, telling them at first that she was a friend of the bride.
"She unfortunately could not remember the name of the bride, so that alerted our officers to her untruthfulness," Barnes said.
The driver of the car claimed to have no knowledge of the alleged theft from the reception and was not arrested, the captain said.
Duran and Muir, both 46, were booked into the Carbon County Jail for investigation of theft. Between them they have dozens of prior convictions, many of them for theft, under a number of different names, according to Barnes.
"They took a target of opportunity because that's their business. They're thieves," the captain said, adding that newlyweds would be wise to put a responsible adult at their gift table during a reception to prevent theft.
"We've had these incidents before," Barnes said, "but nothing this blatant from career criminals targeting a reception."
Ryan and Keosha Rasmussen are on a honeymoon cruise, making new memories. Still, Kaye Rasmussen admits, it's hard to imagine they'll ever forget their wedding reception.
"We missed some of the little things, like cutting the cake and the dance, because everyone was filling out police reports," she said. "But they'll have something to tell their kids. It's kind of a unique memory."
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