Friday, April 13, 2007

Border cops recover stolen wedding gowns

US border police found 1000 wedding gowns stolen from a cancer charity and crammed into a truck trying to get into Mexico, federal authorities said.

The donated dresses were on their way to Los Angeles to a fundraiser for the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation in November when they were stolen in Scottsdale, Arizona, the US Customs and Border Protection agency said.

Inspectors in southern Arizona recovered the dresses late last week when they inspected a tractor trailer that had been denied entry to Nogales, Mexico, by Mexican customs officials.

Police discovered the gowns, which have an estimated value of $US3 million ($NZ4.2 million), and arrested the driver. It was not immediately clear if the driver was a US or Mexican citizen.

Fran Hansen, co-founder and national director of the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation, thanked the border inspectors for recovering the missing frocks.

"When the call came in, I felt blessed beyond my wildest dreams," Hansen said. "I'd been praying for that moment for the past several months."

The charity receives donated wedding gowns, which it then resells, using the proceeds to grant wishes of women diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

Wishes fulfilled by the charity include trips to Disneyland, ocean cruises, and funding reunions for separated family members, sources at the charity said.

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