Woman takes search for stolen wedding dress into her own hands

By: Amelia Cerling Email
By: Amelia Cerling Email

A string of burglaries that caused headaches for several people in Chippewa Falls was solved by a young woman who took matters into her own hands after her wedding dress was stolen from a storage unit.

Alena Gadke ,her husband Codie, and 8-month old son Gavin paint the picture of a young and happy family.

But when Alena's wedding dress was stolen from the family's rented storage unit, Alena got mad.

“At first I was really upset when I saw that the dress was missing, and then I just got kind of mad, because I thought why would somebody do this,” she tells us.

Chippewa Falls Police tried to reassure the Gadke's that they would work their hardest to try and recover the thieves and the stolen items.

But Alena says she got impatient and decided to search for her stolen wedding dress on Craigslist.

“When I found the dress, like on Craigslist I was just thinking, this can't be possible, there's no way! They can't be dumb enough to put in on Craigslist,” Alena says.

But it was possible. Alena spoke with the Craigslist seller and figured it had to be her dress, that's when she contacted police.

Everything went down at the K-mart parking lot in Chippewa Falls, where police made two arrests, and recovered dozens of stolen items, including Alena's wedding dress.

Chippewa falls Police Chief Wendy Stelter says Alena's direct involvement with the investigation worked out terrifically this time for both police and the theft victims, but she says it doesn't always work out this well.

“Well we certainly don’t want to encourage people to take things into their hands, certainly we have the public helping us, giving us tips, so on and so forth, but this would be a bit unusual and it just so happened that it worked out really well,” Stelter says.

She provided us very useful information which allowed us to solve numerous burglaries in several jurisdictions, without her assistance who knows when or if they would have been resolved,” Sgt. Dan Marcell who helped make the arrests says.

Police arrested 17-year-old Coty R. Kimball and 23-year-old Christopher Anderson, both of Chippewa Falls for the thefts.

Alena’s wedding dress is currently being held as evidence at the Chippewa Falls Police Department.


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