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Long IslandSuffolk

Cops: Wedding guest tried to steal gifts

A guest at a West Sayville wedding was arrested after he tried to swipe gifts that included more than $1,000 in cash and fled, but was caught by the groom and other guests, Suffolk police and the venue's maître d' said Sunday.

Omar Santiago, 18, of Irvington, N.J., suffered head injuries, scratches and bruises, and was treated at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore and released Sunday, said police, who would not detail how Santiago was hurt.

Santiago was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, accused of attempting to steal wedding cards, checks and a "felony amount of cash," police said.

He was at the Saturday wedding of Larry and Joanna Williamson of Central Islip when West Sayville Country Club maitre d' Ann-Marie Botsch noticed him carrying the white box with gift envelopes intended for the couple, police said.

Botsch in an interview Sunday said she "was suspicious because he was in my coat closet with the box." Botsch said she informed the bride.

Santiago -- whom Botsch called "a guest of a guest" on the groom's side -- went into the men's room, took the envelopes from the box, hid them in his clothing and ran out of the building, police said.

The groom and about five guests pursued Santiago, catching him in a wooded area, said Botsch, 44, of West Islip, who called 911. They held him until police arrived, she said. Santiago was arrested and taken to the hospital. He was in Fifth Squad police custody Sunday night and is to be arraigned Monday at First District Court in Central Islip. All wedding gifts were recovered.

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