Dresses Seized By State to be Auctioned Wednesday
Red Carpet Pageant and Prom store's merchandise had been confiscated after owners accused of deceiving customers.
The prom dresses and merchandise seized by the state from Red Carpet Pageant and Prom store earlier this year will be sold at a court-ordered auction Wednesday, authorities said.
The state Attorney General’s office has kept the dresses under lock and key since June.
“Our goal is to get restitution into the hands of the consumers who did not receive their merchandise or the return of the monies they paid for the dresses they never received,” Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said in a statement.
Merchandise inspection begins at 10 a.m. and the auction starts at 11 a.m. The store is located at 1200 Route 23 North. (Click here for more information about the auction.)
A court-appointed receiver will conduct the auction. Proceeds from the auction will be held in an account controlled by the receiver until a court order is issued on how they should be distributed.
The dresses are for women between the ages of 13 and 30. They include prom dresses and cocktail dresses made by major dress name brands.
A selection of bridal and formal accessories including: gloves, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, hairpieces and costume jewelry can also be purchased on Wednesday.
Several business items including chrome garment display racks, glass display cases, a credit card machine, mannequins, and mirrors will be placed up for auction.
The office obtained a court order to seize 25 dresses and change the locks at the store after it filed a complaint accusing owner Patricia Dowling, and her husband Michael, of engaging in unconscionable commercial practices and allegedly deceiving customers.
The Dowlings have not responded to the complaint. The attorney general’s office said the state would seek a default judgment against them.
The attorney general and state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) alleged the store took orders and payment for prom dresses earlier this year, but shut down operations in the middle of prom season.
Several customers called the Wayne Police Department and the DCA to complain they never received their dresses.
Dowling notified police that $20,000 in dresses was stolen from the store in mid-May. She alleged that the rear door of the facility was left unlocked.
Police later watched video from the store that they say shows Dowling removing 40 dresses off a rack and placing them in a storage room. Dowling originally told police that cameras at the business did not record.
Dowling was issued a summons for filing a false police report.