In The News: Engaged To Be Wed
BAY CITY, MI — Shortly after a Bay City man proposed to his girlfriend at Wal-Mart, the pair shoplifted jewelry and sex toys, police say, leading the newly engaged couple to spend their New Year’s Eve in jail. About 6:14 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30, Bay County sheriff’s deputies responded to the Spencer’s Gifts store inside the Bay City Mall, at 4101 E. Wilder Road in Bangor Township, for a shoplifting complaint involving a man and a woman. Both suspects fled the area prior to deputies’ arrival, but deputies found the woman walking between Bob Evans and Taco Bell, followed by a Spencer’s employee, court records show.
Deputies searched the 20-year-old woman and found a pair of gold earrings and a silver necklace with a star pendant, court records show. The woman told deputies she and her 25-year-old fiancé, William J. Cornelius Jr., visited the mall to shop and maybe see a movie, adding she had no part in what happened at Spencer’s, court records show. She denied stealing anything from the novelty store, and said she was not going to snitch on Cornelius, court records show.
Deputies later located Cornelius sleeping in the mall’s food court, apparently having fallen asleep at a table while tying his shoes, court records show. They awoke Cornelius and searched him, finding on him a watch, an edible thong, a sex toy, panties and sex candy from Spencer’s valued at a total of $80.93, court records show.
Cornelius told deputies he stole the items for his fiancée, having just proposed to her at Wal-Mart, court records show. Deputies went to Wal-Mart, at 3921 Wilder Road, where staff told them Cornelius had asked a customer service worker to read a proposal note over the public address system, asking his girlfriend to marry him, court records show. Staff provided deputies with surveillance camera footage showing the event, with Cornelius and his new fiancée hugging and kissing as people stand around them and applaud, court records show.
Deputies confirmed Cornelius had purchased an engagement ring at Wal-Mart for $29.62, court records show. Surveillance footage also captured the woman putting items in her purse, police said.