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Reception Waits as Bride and Groom Chase and Retrieve Their Stolen Car

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From Associated Press

A bride and groom on the way to their wedding reception spotted his car, stolen two days earlier while they’d arranged for their ceremony, gave chase and put two men under citizen’s arrest until police arrived.

“We couldn’t believe it,” said bride Johanna Jones, 30, and her groom, Michael Jones, 31, who stormed out of their rented limousine in formal wedding attire Saturday and apprehended the two men on 4th Avenue downtown.

“Our friend Bill, who was driving the limo, said, ‘Nah, that’s not your car.’ But I said, ‘Yes it is, it’s got the dented fender,’ ” said Mrs. Jones.

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Prenuptial Loss

The couple had parked Jones’ red 1979 Toyota Corona in front of the First Presbyterian Church on Date Street on Thursday to keep an appointment with their pastor.

“The groom was kind of nervous and he left his keys in the car,” said friend Nancy Reed, 34, of Los Angeles.

When they finished arrangements for the ceremony, the car was gone. But moments after they were married Saturday, the couple spotted the car about a block away from the church as they made their way to a reception at Seaport Village.

“I still had my bouquet in hand and I jumped out in my wedding gown,” Mrs. Jones said.

“We yelled to people who stopped to see what was going on to call the police,” said Mrs. Jones, a technical writer at Computer Associates of San Diego. Her husband is a programmer at Home Federal Savings & Loan.

The two men in the car told the Joneses they had bought the vehicle from somebody else and were unaware it had been stolen, Reed said.

“But it still had my briefcase inside and they were using my key ring that had our house keys, our boat keys and keys to our motorcycle on it,” Mrs. Jones said.

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An ambulance, fire truck and tow truck appeared on the scene first, followed by five or six police officers, she said. Officer Phil Schneider at first believed there had been a car accident.

“I didn’t know what was going on, but when they told me, I just started laughing,” he said.

The two men found in the car, both of them Mexicans living in San Diego, were arrested without incident, but only the driver, Roberto Mojica, 22, was booked for investigation of auto theft, Schneider said. He was in custody Sunday and scheduled for arraignment this week.

The car was released to the Joneses, who said a friend drove it on to the reception.

“I’ve been doing this for seven years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Schneider, 27. “Their wedding photographer stopped and took a few snaps, but it would have been funny if they could have gotten a photo of (Mrs. Jones) hitting the suspects over the head with her flowers.”

The couple, who left for a Hawaiian honeymoon Sunday, said they believed there was hidden meaning behind their good fortune.

“It was a good omen to have something returned on our wedding day,” Mrs. Jones said.

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