A Fox 5 report on Red Carpet Pageant and Prom in Wayne, N.J., and its owner Patricia Dowling allegedly scamming girls out of their prom dresses has set off a firestorm that has Wayne police extremely busy.
A week ago, Fox 5 introduced you to some girls who say they were wronged by the store, which is located on Route 23 in Wayne. They ordered what they had hoped would be the perfect prom dress. But for many, that dress never came even though they paid in full. They say they were given the runaround by the store's owner.
Dowling claims a medical illness kept her away. When we spoke with her she said she didn't intentionally defraud anyone. She said she didn't steal anyone's money. The day we spoke to her, Dowling claimed someone stole 40 dresses and $600 in cash.
According to police, it is unlikely that burglary happened. An in-store recording device allegedly shows Patricia Dowling with those dresses she reported stolen.
Police have a year to file misdemeanor charges against her for filing a false police report.
Three more victims came forward Tuesday.
The owner was supposed to meet police at the shop to look for some of the missing gowns. Cops said she didn't show. They are focused right now on getting the victims their gowns and will handle the issue of the false report later on.
"To date, the Division of Consumer Affairs has not received complaints from consumers about Red Carpet Pageant and Prom," said Acting Director Eric Kanefsky of the Division of Consumer Affairs. "We will not confirm whether an investigation is taking place, but we can confirm that the Division can and does investigate even when consumers have not contacted us directly with a complaint."
Kanefsky said that consumers who have complaints should call 800-242-5846 or 877-746-7850. Make sure you gather all your receipts.