Women stunned to find wedding rings stolen hours before ceremony

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Just 5 1/2 hours before Dana Palmgren (left) and Denise Gluck were scheduled to be married they realized their wedding bands were missing. Above, the couple wearing new rings.

Just hours before her wedding on Sept. 7, Denise Gluck of Wading River went to polish the never-worn wedding bands ready and waiting for her and her wife-to-be’s big day. Or so she thought.

When Ms. Gluck opened the matching white-and-red ring boxes about 11:30 a.m., she found they were empty.

She and Dana Palmgren, who have been together for 12 years, were scheduled to be married just 5 1/2 hours later at Mt. Sinai Congregational, United Church of Christ.

Ms. Gluck, also a nine-year Wading River Fire Department volunteer, flew upstairs to the couple’s bedroom closet to search the moving box in which the rings had been stored. Just days earlier, on Aug. 28, the couple had moved into their newly built Lewin Drive home with the help of nine men from a South Fork moving company.

“By the time I even reached the top of the stairs, I knew that they were gone,” Ms. Gluck said. “I still looked, though, hoping.”

“I thought she was joking,” Ms. Palmgren said last week.

Minutes later Ms. Gluck was on the phone with the Riverhead Police Department. The two bands, valued at $4,200, had been stolen from the home, it was determined. Police are urging anyone with information to contact detectives at 727-4500.

The morning of the move, Ms. Gluck said, she’d looked at the bands before placing them into a moving box along with several other valuables.

The rings were both white gold, she said. Ms. Palmgren’s was described as a classic gold band, while Ms. Gluck’s had alternating groups of straight and round diamonds on the front of the band.

The moving box had unknowingly been left unattended, Ms. Gluck said, and she and Ms. Palmgren said they believe one of the nine men working for the moving company that day had stolen the rings.

“They left the ring boxes. I didn’t even think to look,” Ms. Gluck said. “I didn’t think anything of it.”

Ms. Palmgren said the couple was particularly upset because “[the workers] knew we were getting married, and we were good to them.”

Shortly after discovering that the rings were missing, the soon-to-be married couple hopped into a car and headed to Rocky Point Jewelers in hopes of finding plain bands for the wedding, but such rings were out of stock. By the time they made it back home, their photographer had already arrived.

“We had 20 minutes to get ready,” Ms. Gluck said.

They managed to make it to the church on time and then used their engagement rings as wedding bands.

Ms. Gluck said the moving company’s owner fully cooperated with police, but investigators gave the women little hope the bands would ever be found. Last Tuesday, the couple replaced the rings. “We just felt like something was missing, like we were incomplete,” she said.

The two met when they were both studying nursing at Suffolk County Community College. They now work together in Peconic Bay Medical Center’s emergency department, where Ms. Palmgren is an ER nurse and Ms. Gluck is a manager of nurses.

Looking back on the day’s events, they say they didn’t let the theft ruin their special day.

“I’m just glad we had the shock here, and not in front of the pastor,” Ms. Palmgren said. “There are so many worse things that could have happened.”

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