WASHINGTON (DC News Now)– Claudia Arango started planning her wedding three months after getting engaged.
“The first thing that I did [was] start looking into the dress. I knew that had to come first. Just because it’s such a long time period of production and finding the right fit, and ordering the dress. So, that was the first thing that I did,” said Arango. “I immediately fell in love with the dresses from Grace Loves Lace.”
Arango soon found herself at one of the bridal shop showrooms. She tried a few dresses before she found the one.
“The dress just made me feel beautiful. It made me feel like I was a bride,” said Arango.
Arango purchased the dress in April or May of last year. It was sent off for alterations. It was not until March of this year that the dress was delivered to Arango with all the changes.
“I was just excited to open the dress, and seeing that the dress had arrived and just feeling like the day was getting closer,” said Arango.
Arango tried on the dress again to see how it fit with the adjustments made. Arango found that the dress still needed some minor changes, so she arranged to take the dress for final alterations.
She decided to leave the dress in the car overnight and drop it off for alterations in the morning.
“I never leave anything in my car, I don’t. I’m the first person that would always tell anyone ‘don’t leave anything in the car,” but since it wasn’t visible, the car was locked, I don’t know, I said, overnight, I doubt anything will happen,” said Arango.
But something did. In the morning, when Arango went to her car, she saw something wasn’t right.
“When I opened the trunk, I noticed that the car had been broken into. I noticed that everything had been gone through. Obviously, the first thing I noticed was that the dress was missing,” said Arango.
She said she was devastated, especially because her wedding was less than two months away.
“When I noticed it was missing, I was in disbelief. I just kept on saying, ‘This can’t be true.’ I literally felt like my heart stopped. And then, I cried, and just felt like I was living in a nightmare” said Arango.
She said the first thing she did was file a police report and let her building management know what happened so staff members could check the surveillance footage.
She also has been working alongside the manufacturer of the dress to see if she can get a new dress.
“They’re aware of what happened. They have told me that they are going to try to come up with a couple of solutions to present to me and we’ll figure out how to move forward. I’m hoping they can offer a solution where at the end of the day, I get to walk down the aisle in that same dress,” said Arango, who still would like the original to be found and returned. She’s offering a $500 reward if she gets the dress back undamaged.
“I’m trying to stay hopeful. I’m trying to stay positive and I know everything happens for a reason. I can’t quite see what the reason for this is just quite yet, but I know that, and I hope that something good will come out of this, even if it’s to give an extra warning out there to not keep anything valuable, not even for a couple of hours. Just always keep it with you, because unfortunately D.C. is experiencing high volumes of crime and I just feel like nothing is sacred here anymore,” said Arango.