New York

Bride-to-Be in Frenzied Search for Wedding Dresses Taken From Street by Stranger

A New York bride-to-be is searching frantically for her bridesmaids’ dresses days after the garments flew out of the trunk of her car and were apparently picked up by a man in a van who hasn’t been seen since.

Mary Melendez is getting married this Friday, but the dresses for her bridesmaids are still nowhere to be found.

Last Friday, she picked up the dresses at Esteem Dry Cleaners in Garden City. She loaded them into her trunk and closed it — or so she thought. She was turning onto Stewart Avenue when she says she realized the dresses had fallen out.

“I realized I left the backdoor open when I saw the bag in the middle of the street,” Melendez said.

Nothing was left of the dresses except the garment bag they were in. Much to her surprise, a witness told her that a man who’d been driving behind her picked up the dresses off the roadway and put them into his white van.

“I was like, ‘No, I didn’t see anyone and nobody followed me.’ And she was like, ‘Wow, maybe he’s coming back?’” Melendez said.

But there’s been no trace of the man, the van or the dresses since. Melendez even waited outside the cleaners for three hours, hoping the unknown driver who picked up the dresses would show up to return them.

“I couldn’t believe I did that — that I forgot to close the backdoor of the car — and that they were gone, and that somebody would just take them… like dresses!” Melendez said.

Melendez said she spent about six months picking out the dresses and having her bridesmaids fitted and that it cost $1,000 to get the dresses ready.

With the wedding on Friday, the search is on for new dresses. Melendez said she has had to change details of the wedding so everything will match up on the big day.

“Everything was going so well; everything was done, all the favors,” Melendez said. “Like everything you plan for a wedding.”

But she still has hope that the dresses will turn up at the last minute.

“Please bring them back,” she said in a plea to the man in the van. “I won’t do anything against him. It’s just dresses.”

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