Girlfriend meets police to get lost wallet — then has surprise of a lifetime in Florida

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Girlfriend meets police to get lost wallet — then has surprise of a lifetime in Florida

When Craig Vandenberg decided he wanted to propose to his girlfriend, Emery, he knew he had to do something special.

A student at Florida Southern College, Vandenberg reached out to his school resource officer, Dagon Leach, from the Lakeland Police Department.

Together, they hatched a plan.

Vandenberg gave Leach his wallet and his girlfriend’s phone number, then Leach channeled his inner actor.

“Hey, is this Emery?” Leach asks in body camera footage shared by the Lakeland Police Department on Facebook on Dec. 23. “So I need your help. A police officer from downtown found Craig’s wallet and you’re listed as an emergency contact for him.”

Leach tells Emery on the phone that he had tried to find Vandenberg at his house but couldn’t seem to reach him to return the wallet, and asked if Emery could pick it up.

“This dude’s got me staying late, I’m ready to go home, it’s been a long day,” Leach says at the end of the call, adding to the ruse.

Waiting patiently as Leach chats on the phone is Vandenberg, dressed in a suit jacket and holding a bouquet of flowers, the video shows.

The student waited patiently for his girlfriend to arrive after the police officer called and said someone had found his wallet.

The student waited patiently for his girlfriend to arrive after the police officer called and said someone had found his wallet.

Emery agrees to meet Leach at a pavilion next to a lake on the school’s campus, so Vandenberg quickly jumps into the back of Leach’s patrol vehicle with his head down and waits for his moment.

“She has no idea,” Leach says as the two wait for Emery to arrive. “It’s almost game time.”

Leach drives the patrol vehicle up to the pavilion as Emery arrives and steps out to hand her the wallet, the video shows.

Emery tells Leach he caught her just in time as she was about to leave campus, and thanks him for returning the wallet.

“I’m an emergency contact?” Emery asks Leach.

“Yeah, so you must be important,” he responds. “Oh, one more thing though.”

Then, just as Emery was about to walk away, Leach opens the back door of his patrol vehicle and Vandenberg steps out, much to Emery’s surprise.

Vandenberg leads Emery toward the water, then gets down on one knee, the video shows.

The student led his girlfriend toward the lake on campus, then got down on one knee to ask her to marry him.

The student led his girlfriend toward the lake on campus, then got down on one knee to ask her to marry him.

“Oh my god, yes!” Emery is heard saying in the video.

“Craig and Emery, congratulations to you both!” the Lakeland Police Department wrote in the Facebook post. “Thank you for allowing us to help make this a true surprise.”

Florida Southern College is about 40 miles east of Tampa.

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