Thieves steal wedding day photos, photographer begging for them back

Francielle Santo, who runs a photography business out of her Newton studio, is now offering a $1,000 reward for the return of her memory cards, containing the only copies of the wedding.

"It's like my worst nightmare right now to not have her photos," Santo said. "Just please return that. Just the flash cards, that's all I want."

Santo had finished shooting the ceremony at a Catholic church in Maynard and the reception at the local Elks Lodge. She dropped off her assistant photographer shortly after midnight and drove into Boston, parking on Hereford St., in the Back Bay, to pick up friends. Santo left her car locked with her equipment inside for just a few minutes, she said, before returning to broken glass.

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The thief had smashed her back passenger window and grabbed her camera and other photography equipment.

"I went crazy. I was crying," Santo said. "Nothing compares to her wedding day. I cannot replace that."

Santo is friends with the bride. They met a few years ago when Santo took her senior portrait in high school.

"She came to me, and she said, 'Fran, I want you to shoot my wedding,'" Santo said. "So, to me, her wedding day was very important. It was very emotional to me."

Santo has not yet told the newlyweds, because they are already on their honeymoon.

"I'm broken-hearted right now for the photos and I'm the one suffering right now," Santo said, "When they get back, I will definitely get in touch with them, but not right now, because they're enjoying their honeymoon."

Santo, who has filed a police report, hopes the thief will have a heart and send her the memory cards, or someone who buys a used camera and finds the pictures will return them to her and collect the reward.

She also urges pawn shops to keep an eye out for her equipment, including a Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera, a Kingston compact flash 16GB memory card and a SanDisk SDHC 32GB memory card.

Santo has a backup camera but plans to buy another to be able to continue to shoot her upcoming weddings.

Santo's studio address is 1191 Washington St., West Newton, MA, 02465.

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