A week before Sharifa Mattis and Tyler Ahrendsen’s wedding, Hurricane Matthew toppled a tree in their backyard and knocked out power to their new house in east Raleigh.
With their wedding planned for Saturday, the couple relocated to Mattis’ mother’s house in North Raleigh. It was an inconvenience, for sure, but they felt lucky.
Their bad week continued, though. The couple returned to their home Tuesday to find that someone had broken in and stolen hundreds of dollars worth of jewelry and wedding supplies.
“Every piece of jewelry that wasn’t on her, they took,” Ahrendsen said of his fiancee. It was “jewelry from her mom and from me, heirloom pieces – stuff she’d collected throughout her life that’s not replaceable.”
Their friends are raising money for the bride and groom through GoFundMe.com.
“She feels violated,” Ashley Thorsen, a friend of the couple, said of Mattis. “They basically turned the whole place upside down.”
Mattis, 26, and Ahrendsen, 31, bought the house about a month ago. Over the weekend, they were featured in a News & Observer story about the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
On Tuesday morning, Mattis bought doughnuts to give the construction workers she expected to see working on the tree in the back yard. Ahrendsen said his bride-to-be rolled up to find police cars instead.
The couple have insurance, Ahrendsen said. By Tuesday morning, they had yet to determine the scope of their losses.
“We’re still going through everything. They went through all of our clothes, stuffed we’d boxed up,” Ahrendsen said. “They took all the wine for the wedding, most of the beer ... a lot of electronics.”
Despite what happened, the wedding is expected to go on at Fletcher Park as planned.
Two things burglars didn’t get: the wedding bands.
“We’ve had a lot of things happen right up close to this wedding,” Ahrendsen said. “But we’ve got a great support system here with our families.”
How to help
To donate to Sharifa Mattis and Tyler Ahrendsen, go to http://bit.ly/2dIwNqt.