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Snapshot tourist: ‘I thought the bag was gone’

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The Myers family was all dressed up for a wedding, so they thought it would be a good time to take a family photo. But it was also the perfect time for a bag thief to strike.

While the vacationing New Jersey family posed for a snapshot in the front of the Wisconsin State Capitol, a bag containing many of their valuables was snatched. Luckily for them, the photo captured the alleged thief in the act.

"I thought the bag was gone," John Myers recalled, speaking to Carl Quintanilla on NBC's TODAY show. "When I did notice the photo, I thought the only souvenir I'd have was the photo of the person who took it. I really didn't expect to get the bag back, even after first seeing the photo."

The Bloomfield, N.J., man showed his photo to the Capitol Police. Officers recognized the man, and a few minutes later arrested Glenn Lambright, 59, who pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor theft on Tuesday.

"All kinds of things were in our bag. It would have just ruined our whole trip ... it was like the rental car keys, an iPad was in there," said Kathy Myers. The bag also contained a wallet, credit cards, cash and the family's identifications.

Originally, the family started taking photos next to the bag, John Myers said, but "as kids do, we drifted away a little bit" — about 20 feet away. After snapping the now infamous photo, Myers went to retrieve his bag when he realized it was gone.

"He asked me 'Do you have my bag?' and I was like, 'No, I don't have your bag... Why would I have your bag?' " Kathy Myers said. "So of course there was that kind of frustration of 'Ugh, why did you leave it there?' "

Why was the bag of valuables left unattended?

"A lot of people have commented on this fact," John Myers wryly said.

Police recovered everything — including the bag.

NBC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.