Mom Stephanie Gunia from La Vista, Nebraska, had already been through a lot when her week took a turn for the worse.
She’d just moved to a new apartment at Inwood Village with her three children the week before. She and her kids had gotten settled in. She’d gone grocery shopping to stock up, and she’d spent long hours at her job.
On April 14, she got home after picking up her three kids, and as she approached the door, she immediately sensed that something was amiss.
“I knew something was wrong when first I walked in my door and my mat was gone,” Gunia told KETV.
And it only got worse from there.
“We walked in, and there was nothing in our apartment except for a mattress,” Gunia said. “My kids’ stuff was gone, all their clothes, everything.”
The apartment management suggested that Gunia call the police and file a report for supposed burglary, but when authorities arrived, they couldn’t find any indication of a break-in.
“Me and the officer looked. All the windows were locked. The front door was locked,” Gunia said. “There was no sign of forced entry or any of that.”
Then, a neighbor solved the mystery: He told Gunia he’d seen people carrying things out of her apartment and depositing them in the dumpster.
When she went to check, she was met with a depressing sight.
“Our stuff was in five of the seven dumpsters,” she said. “I just went grocery shopping the day before. All that food is ruined. They were … food was mixed in with the toys, and there was like beer … and like trash ‘gooze’ all over my kids’ stuff, our clothes.”
“My kids were crying because they were scared. They don’t know what’s going on. They don’t know why somebody threw their stuff away in a trash can.”
The apartment management’s response was less than comforting. Apparently, they had intended to clear out a different unit and got the wrong one.
“And they said they got the wrong apartment,” Gunia said. “They cleaned out the wrong apartment.”
Inwood Village’s manager, Richdale, gave the family a $250 gift card and released a statement concerning the incident.
“We are working with a resident who had some of her possessions mistakenly placed in a dumpster prior to the completion of her moving into her apartment,” the statement read.
“We believe almost all of her possessions were retrieved. Any missing items will be replaced at our expense. A $250.00 gift card was issued to the resident immediately upon our discovery of our team’s mistake.”
Gunia confirmed she had received the gift card, but expressed that it didn’t really address the issue or solve the problem.
“I’m upset and pissed off, honestly — and to see my kids hurt is what hurt me the most, and I have an autistic and ADHD son, and he just doesn’t understand,” she said.
She also said that although police and staff pulled a lot of their belongings out of the trash, they were damaged or gross, and she didn’t want her kids sleeping on the mattresses that had been mixed with trash and beer.
Gunia said that management had also promised to send professional cleaners to address the mess, but they never showed up.
A friend has set up a GoFundMe for the family in the hopes that it would help them get back on their feet. So far, almost $5,000 has been donated.
“Just want to say thank you to everyone who has donated and the ones who also have said a prayer for my family,” an update on the fundraiser page read.
“I appreciate every single one of you and the amount of support you all have shown us means so much to us. I meet with a lawyer today and another one tomorrow. I will post more updates soon as I know more. Thank you again for all the support.”