County Limerick couple appeal for return of stolen wedding photos

Richie Smith and his wife, Avany Pires Franca        Picture: Terry O'Brien

Richie Smith and his wife, Avany Pires Franca Picture: Terry O'Brien

  • by Donal O’Regan

THE picture above, taken by chance on Richie Smith and his Brazilian bride’s wedding day, is the only one they have after thieves broke in to their wedding photographer’s home.

The back door of Jet Stokes’ home on Caherconlish’s Main Street was smashed between 4.30 and 6.30pm last Sunday. Intruders ransacked the house and stole a MacBook Pro, Acer laptop, two iPad 2s, two iPods, three Canon cameras, memory cards and a hard drive. The cost runs to thousands of euros but Jet’s only concern is getting back the wedding photographs of the six couples he took in June.

One of those six is Richie Smith, Crecora and his wife, Avany Pires Franca. The couple wed in St Camillus’ civil registration office last Friday and celebrated with family and friends in Carrygerry House, Newmarket on Fergus. They stopped in Bunratty and the photo, above, is now the only one they have of their special day.

“We were absolutely horrified when we heard the news. It’s very emotional for both of us. Avany was looking forward to sending the photos to her family in Brazil.

“She had Brazilian friends and I had people from far and wide. The majority of them are from outside Limerick and some are quite elderly. You won’t get a chance of a group photograph of all those people again. We’re in a bad state over it,” said Richie, who is 51.

The two met in a pub in Lisdoonvarna last September, where love struck. “I proposed on my birthday November 18. It is a great love story,” said Richie.

Last Friday was the happiest day of their lives but it has been tainted by not one, but two events.

A Japanese friend of Avany’s played violin at the wedding. Yuki Nishioka’s valuable violin was stolen from her car in Gouldavoher in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“It’s a double disaster. It casts an awful shadow on Limerick,” said Richie, who appealed to the thieves to return the wedding photos and Yuki’s violin.

Jet is also distraught over the loss - not for himself but for his clients. The photos were on memory cards, his Silver MacBook Pro and backed up on hard drive.

“You would think three places would be enough,” he said. His wife’s laptop is also irreplaceable as she works with children with Down Syndrome and has eight years of specially tailored speech therapy programmes on it.

He appeals to the criminals to return the MacBook Pro and the Acer laptop “no questions asked” to any of the businesses in Caherconlish which he will be checking.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Caherconlish gardai on 061-351202.




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