SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Former employees of bridal store Alfred Angelo are helping brides get their wedding dresses back after the chain abruptly closed.
The company filed for bankruptcy and locked its doors Thursday, leaving many brides without their dresses and wondering how they were going to get them back.
Charlie Reed used to work at Alfred Angelo but changed careers right before the closures. She teamed up with two other employees to get as many of the dresses out of the store and back into the rightful arms of the brides.
“One of the brides that we were bringing her dress back to opened up her home to us and set up everything for us for the brides to come to her home, pick up their gowns," Reed said. "She even offered to have them try them on if they wanted, they had rooms opened for that.”
Reed said they drove more than 400 miles round trip and reunited 40 gowns to their owners. She admits they did go back into the store to get the dresses.
“We had a moral obligation to these brides," she said. "They paid for these items, they were expecting them, there’s no reason they shouldn’t own something that is rightfully theirs."
Steven Houbeck, an attorney at Houbeck & Associates, says the filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy operates as a stay or temporary restraining order protecting the estate of the business.
"The actions of the employees to remove assests of the estate, i.e.- wedding dresses and give to third parties, without Bankruptcy Court approval, may be construed as a violation of the automatic stay or restraining order," Houbeck told 10News. "Furthermore, the actions of the employees may constitute theft or grand larceny under state law and could subject them to state criminal prosecution. Third parties receiving stolen items could also face state criminal charges and prosecution."
When asked if she was worried about legal trouble, Reed said she was concerned about it at first, but now is focusing on the positive.
“Like, are you really going to come after a bride? That’s what also gives me peace about being the Robin Hood of bridal," Reed said, smiling. "Are you really going to come after me? After I’ve done all of this for these customers? Like, I don’t think so."
Reed also says there are other former Alfred Angelo employees doing the same thing all over the country to help women out.
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“Wouldn’t you do the same thing for me though?" she asked. "Like I don’t think what we’re doing is extraordinary. I feel like it’s expected.”
Houbeck says anyone worried about legal repercussions are encouraged to come clean and communicate with the company's bankruptcy trustee, Margaret Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"In doing so, Trustee Margaret Smith can negotiate and allow the brides to legally acquire the gowns and enjoy their weddings," he said. "The Trustee understands the situation and I'm sure work out a solution that allows the ladies to enjoy their special day."
Alfred Angelo Bridal shared this statement on their website:
"Alfred Angelo filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on July 14, 2017. As a result, all Alfred Angelo stores, corporate offices and Alfred Angelo wholesalers are closed. Margaret Smith is the Court appointed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee.
If you wish to be contacted regarding your order status, please send an email to email@example.com. In your email, please include your order number, name as it appears on your order and the location of your purchase.
We will post additional information regarding the status of pending orders on this website as it becomes available or otherwise contact you as we receive more information regarding your purchase.
We apologize for the inconvenience and hardship resulting from this event. We appreciate your patience. Thank you."