Bellingham bakery falls victim to wedding cake scam

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on April 13, 2010 at 10:43 PM

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - For a Bellingham bakery, wedding cakes are a labor of love. But two weeks ago, an order came in that was the work of a scammer.

Terri Zweber, co-owner of "Our Kitchen Is Your Kitchen," says the order came by e-mail in two weeks ago.

"It was for a wedding cake that was to serve 300," says Zweber. "And it was to have silk flowers on top. The cake with shipping and everything was $2500."

Zweber says it isn't uncommon to get an e-mail order from out of state. It took her and her staff 45 hours to make it.

The buyer, who said his name was Steven Nicole, was from Toronto. He gave her a charge card for the cost of the cake and the $980 in shipping. He then asked the bakery to pay the shipper directly by Western Union. She wired the dough.

"Everything looked legitimate. You can find [Steven Nicole's] name on Facebook, it shows a guy with his girlfriend," says Zweber.

Then no one showed up to pick up the cake.

"Most of Saturday I was thinking it's going to be a really crappy wedding not to have their cake," she said.

It turns out other bakeries across the country have fallen prey to the same scam. In Portland, the same cake was ordered. The scammer used a stolen credit card.

"It makes me sad, and makes me feel suspicious now, more suspicious of people," says Kay Krueger, owner of Sweetness Bakery and Cafe.

"Every single one of them was identical to what had just happened. The same name, the same photos, the same e-mail address and everything," says Zweber.

Zweber still doesn't know whose card was used to pay her, but she's guessing the scammer pocketed the $980 shipping charge.

Refusing to let the cake go to waste. She donated the cake to the local Lighthouse Mission for its spring banquet.

"Something bad happens to somebody and they want to make good out of it," says Rob Buchinski, Executive Director of Lighthouse Mission.

It was a bittersweet ending to a scam that she worried others will fall prey to.

"I know there's another bakery out there who this week is doing the exact same cake," says Zweber.

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