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Police Doubt Wayne, N.J. Prom Gown Shop Owner’s Burglary Story

Patricia Dowling's Store Has Also Been The Subject Of Consumer Complaints
Prom Dresses (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images/FILE)

Prom Dresses (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images/FILE)

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WAYNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police said surveillance video casts doubt on burglary claims by the owner of a New Jersey prom gown shop who has drawn consumer complaints.

Teenagers have claimed the Red Carpet Prom dress shop in Wayne failed to fill orders, or delivered dresses that were damaged or the wrong size.

The store’s owner, Patricia Dowling, filed a burglary report last week, claiming $600 and 40 dresses were stolen.

Police Capt. James Clarke told The Record newspaper the store’s security cameras captured Dowling taking the dresses off the rack.

Police are deciding whether Dowling filed a false complaint.

The newspaper reports Dowling’s previous store, Red Carpet Bridal in Gloucester County, has had more than $70,000 in judgments and liens against it.

Meanwhile, Eric Kanefsky, the Acting State Consumer Affair Director, urged any potential victims to come forward and report their claims.

“What we’re also really encouraging people, anyone who does call to gather up whatever documentation you may have evidencing the purchase, the terms of the purchase, what was made, what representation — if any — were made to you to really give us the fodder that we need to pursue an investigation into one specific act or multiple acts,” he told 1010 WINS.

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

Kanefsky said potential victims would likely be protected under the Consumer Fraud Act. He also called the allegations alarming.

“When were hear allegations like this and obviously…in a circumstance where you’re really taking advantage of such vulnerable people, relying on somebody to give them something for one of their most special days like the prom is for so many high school students in this state, you know, it obviously raises red flags for us,” he said.

What do you make of this situation?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)