The robbery seemed like it had gone down without a hitch, police said. The alleged thief, Heath Bumpous, had managed to steal thousands of dollars, drive off in broad daylight, and pay the venue where his wedding was set to take place the next day. All he needed to do was buy the ring.
Then, the 36-year-old got a text from his fiancee.
"Did you just rob a bank?" she asked on Friday, according to the local sheriff in Trinity County, Texas, about 100 miles north of Houston.
As it turns out, police say he had, before leaving his disguise on the side of the road and turning himself in later on Friday afternoon - in a case that's the latest viral instance of errant grooms charged with crimes on the eve of their wedding days.
It's unclear whether Bumpous had planned his heist in advance or committed it in the spur of the moment, Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace told The Washington Post. But in a video on Facebook, he recounted how the man ended up in handcuffs the day before he was set to walk down the aisle.
Wallace said that Bumpous had lost his job heading up EMS services in nearby Houston County about nine months ago. Ahead of his wedding ceremony, the alleged thief had told his fiancee that all the expenses - the flowers, the wooden venue deep in the piney woods, and especially the $3,200 ring she wanted - had been taken care of.
But he still had thousands to pay off, and the big day was getting close.
So on Friday, Bumpous allegedly drove across the county line into Groveton, an East Texas town of about 1,000 people. At around 11:30 a.m., police said he strolled through the entrance to the Citizens State Bank, a one-story, green-roofed building in the center of town. Without a mask or any other kind of disguise, Bumpous demanded that the two bank tellers empty their drawers, threatening that he had a gun.
"I don't want anyone to get hurt," he told the staff, according to an affidavit provided to The Post.
Bumpous allegedly walked out of the bank with more than $7,000 in cash stuffed into gray Walmart bags. As local schools were placed on lockdown, police said Bumpous made his escape in his gray Ford Focus, driving away on forest and dirt roads out of town.
His first stop was about 20 miles north at the Cochino Lodge near Kennard, Texas, where he was due to be married the next day. Bumpous handed the staff $2,600 in mostly $20 bills, the affidavit said, before leaving the lakeside wedding venue to go purchase a ring for the Saturday celebration.
"He basically stated that he was getting married tomorrow," Wallace said in the video, "so he didn't have enough money for a wedding ring that he wanted to buy and he needed to pay for the wedding venue."
At some point during his drive, Bumpous had taken off his clothes - a black hat with matching T-shirt and pants - and dumped them on the side of the road. But that wasn't enough to disguise himself. In the meantime, the sheriff's office had released a photo of the man that was captured on security camera footage, and asked the public for help identifying the suspect.
At least one person instantly recognized the unmasked robber: His wife-to-be, who texted him saying she had seen his face circulating around social media, the sheriff said. Her name has not been made public
At first, Bumpous denied he was the man in the photo. But when he received a screen shot of the alert with his own face, his fiancee convinced him to turn himself into the authorities.
So instead of going ring shopping, Bumpous drove to the Houston County Courthouse, where he confessed to the crime and was arrested about two hours after his robbery. Police said they later found a loaded .380 pistol in his car, according to the affidavit.
Wallace told The Post that the alleged thief was cooperative and quiet.
"Hey, I'm caught. I did it," Bumpous told him, the sheriff said. "It was stupid, and here I am."
The whole ordeal seemed to serve as good marketing opportunity for Wallace, who recounted the episode in a Facebook video from inside his car while donning a cowboy hat and sunglasses. Bumpous' theft would mark the start of an unusually busy weekend for his office, he said, with the rare occurrence of a murder in Trinity County to follow over the weekend.
"Don't come to Trinity County and commit your crime," Wallace said in the video, "because we're going to find you as quick as we can. We're not going to stop until we do and we're going to put you in jail."
Bumpous, who was charged with robbery, is being held on a $300,000 bond, according to jail records. Plans for the wedding, which did not happen as scheduled on Saturday, have yet to be determined, the sheriff said.