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Woman sets up police sting to retrieve stolen wedding dress

By Jed Boal | Posted - Sep 26th, 2013 @ 10:12pm

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TAYLORSVILLE — After taking matters into her own hands, a Taylorsville woman has tracked down her wedding dress with help from police.

"I'm just grateful to have it back," said Codi Barrios, who wasn't about to give up on the sentimental piece of stolen property.

Barrios and her husband rented a storage unit at Diamond Self Storage on Redwood Road, to declutter their condo, while they sell it. The couple said sometime between Sept. 12 and 19, thieves broke in and stole power tools and Barrios' wedding dress.

Barrios said she always hoped one of her young daughters might wear the dress one day; however, when she and her husband checked on their property after thieves ransacked and robbed their storage unit, she knew the dress would be gone.

"I knew immediately it wasn't there," she said.

She said that the dress and her photo albums were the most important possessions in the storage unit, and both had been stolen. The storage company had cleaned up after the break-in, so there was no evidence for detectives to work with, and the cameras facing their storage unit were not recording.

"It made it impossible for us to do anything about it," Barrios said.

She called pawnshops, and they all told her they don't take wedding dresses. So, Barrios started checking KSL Classifieds to see if her wedding dress would show up there.

She said her her persistence paid off Wednesday night.

"Right before bed, I was like, 'I'm going to check one more time.' I got online, and sure enough, it had just been posted and it was right there," she said.

Barrios ran and told her husband, and then she called the police. She exchanged texts with the woman who was trying to sell her dress.

We get the restoration box back from the police, it has my name, my address, everything on the front of the box. It's obvious this was my dress.

–Codi Barrios

"Saying, 'I am so interested. Can you send me some more photos? The ones online are kind of blurry,'" Barrios said in text messages.

The woman sent more pictures of the wedding dress, and Barrios was certain it was her dress. She made arrangements with the woman to buy the dress Thursday morning at a Midvale apartment complex.

Barrios took the police with her to the meeting. She stayed in the car while police entered the apartment.

"I think she did a great job," said Salt Lake City police detective Veronica Montoya.

When police went into the apartment, they found Barrios' dress, her photo albums and more stolen property from the storage unit. Ember Gallegos, 35, of Midvale was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of possession of stolen property.

"We get the restoration box back from the police, it has my name, my address, everything on the front of the box. It's obvious this was my dress," Barrios said.

Montoya said when burglary victims can give detectives a lot of accurate details about their stolen property, they have a better chance of finding it.

"The more you have on it, the more we can follow up on," Montoya said.

Salt Lake City detectives are still working the case, trying to sort out other stolen property they found and trying to figure out how many victims and suspects there are.

Barrios said her dress is OK, but "It reeks of alcohol and drugs."

She said she will have the dress cleaned to determine whether her daughters can ever wear it some day when they get married.


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