Police Involved After Owner Claims To Be Victim Of Robbery; Teens Frantic

WAYNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — What a nightmare.

It’s prom season and as many as 40 high school girls in New Jersey are in a panic after claiming to have never received the dream dresses they ordered from the Red Carpet Prom dress shop in Wayne.

Other customers claim the shop delivered dresses that were damaged or the wrong size.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports

“I fell in love with this dress and now it’s not here,” Crystal Rivera said.

“They were pretty much running us around,” Pequannock High School ­senior Brielle Kievit said. “I don’t think the dress ever got ordered to be honest with you.”

Kievit will make it to her prom Friday night in a borrowed yellow dress, not the black and silver gown she ordered from the shop.

Shop owner Patricia Dowling told a local newspaper that she had fallen ill over the past month, leaving her unable to work. Dowling also claims she was the victim of a burglary on Wednesday in which 40 prom dresses — worth approximately $20,000 — and $600 were apparently stolen.

Police have stepped in to help, but so far detectives have found no evidence of a burglary.

“We were able to contact seamstress here and she has 18 of the dresses,” Wayne Police Detective Capt. Jim Clarke said. “It depends on how this turns out whether it was a good report or false report made to us.”

A note on the door of the Wayne shop said the store is closed because of medical issues. CBS 2’s Christine Sloan was unable to contact Dowling. There is a phone number on the door, but when Sloan called it went straight to voice mail.

Dowling’s former partner, who owns another dress shop, has filed a lawsuit against her. She spoke to Sloan by phone.

“She would take money out of the account for her own personal use, which is embezzling,” Lynn Skorenko said.

Skorenko said she’ll give girls with receipts free dresses, but for others these are tough times.

“This Saturday she said come back. I came. It was closed. My prom is on Tuesday,” Rivera told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

Another devastated teen, Nicole Bruno, said she hasn’t gotten her dream dress either from the store Dowling owns.

“It was blue, had rhinestones on it and flowed in the back.”

Bruno said her dress was being altered and she’s been by before.

“When I tried it on it had a rip. I noticed it. I said I will pay extra. When I went back two weeks later the dress was not back yet,” Bruno said.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney On The Story

The website PromGirl.com has stepped in to help out several teens.

“I would say next to their wedding day this is kind of the most important day of their life,” CEO David Wilkenfeld said.

His company is offering dresses at cost. The company has thousands of styles from all different designers.

“We still have not yet had anyone contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs about this specific issue,” DCA Acting Director Eric Kanefsky told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney. “People should be contacting us about a situation like this.”

You can reach Consumer Affairs toll-free in New Jersey at 800-242-5846.

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