TULSA - Up to $70,000 worth of merchandise is stolen from a bridal shop in South Tulsa. Police believe the job was professionally done.
Bridal Palace was broken into early Tuesday morning. Thieves cut out the glass on the back door to enter. Detectives believe it took up to three hours to complete the job.
The theft leaves soon to be brides and their bridesmaids without anything to wear.
"I still have so many things to do. I didn't want something else on my list," says Andrea Petersen. With a little more than two months before she walks down the aisle, Petersen will have to go back to her binder and add back one of the toughest tasks. "The first thing she told me is that my wedding dress was still there, but that all of my bridesmaid's dresses had been stolen."
"Twenty years we haven't had anything like that," says the owner of Bridal Palace, Houda Elaf. Elaf says she is speechless that racks of pre-ordered bride's dresses went from full, to empty. Elaf says, "I didn't think about the money or how much it will cost in damages. I was thinking how could I call a girl and tell her."
Detectives believe the thieves know the market and have a buyer for the merchandise. First, the glass door was cut out, a 45 minute task alone. Piece by piece, dozens of dresses were taken before the alarm tripped by stashing jewelry.
Petersen says her dresses cannot be re-ordered, there's no way they would come in on time. She is "calling other stores to see if they happen to have that dress, in that color, in the six sizes I need. I think the likelihood in finding six dresses in two months is low."
Elaf says, "The manufacturers are really good. They are working with us, rushing orders. I'm replacing any dress that's gone. I don't want the girls to be panicking. They are in safe hands."
If the items cannot be found, Houda says the girls can pick-out something of equal or greater value. "Do you have insurance to cover this? No, I don't have much insurance. I will cover every dress for any girl."
Detectives are looking through surveillance footage from several surrounding businesses. Anyone that saw suspicious activity in the area from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Tuesday is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.
The dresses might also show up on the Internet.
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