MILWAUKEE — Cake artist Judi Dadtka of Milwaukee contacted TMJ4 telling us her luggage was stolen on a recent trip and she's still struggling to get fully refunded for the cost of all of her belongings. Dadtka traveled from Milwaukee to Salt Lake City in January to take part in a televised baking competition.
"So I had to pack to potentially be there for up to thirty days," Dadtka said.
But, she says memories of that opportunity were spoiled because the bag carrying her clothing and personal items was taken from the United Airline carousel in Salt Lake City.
"A lot of the items I bought, I bought right before I left, you know, I needed to have specific clothing that I was going to have to wear while I was on camera," she said.
Dadtka says make-up, toiletries, vitamins, and more were also in that suitcase. She showed us the police report she filed with Salt Lake City police. She also filed a claim with the airport police and with United Airlines.
"They said it would take six to eight weeks to pay out your claim," she said.
She itemized everything that was in her bag with a price tag.
"I went online like to see how much it was, so I was able to actually put in a dollar amount."
Dadtka says it all added up to about $1,800 which includes the cost of her suitcase.
"I didn't lie about anything that was in my suitcase."
Then this happened.
"We've processed your claim, however, there are certain items that we're not going to cover."
Dadtka said United never informed her that may be the case.
"They never even said that. They never even told me. All they told me was as long as your items do not exceed $100 in value per item, you do not have to show proof of a receipt," Dadtka said.
United emailed her saying it would pay most of her claim but not all, explaining it wouldn't cover things like a pocket flashlight, cashews, sanitizing wipes, a coffee canister, containers of collagen powder, a charging cable for her cell phone, and the supplement Saint John's Wart.
"I just don't understand it," Dadtka.
TMJ4 contacted United asking why that was the case.
A spokesperson told us in a statement:
"Thanks for reaching out.
Ms. Dadtka was issued a $1473 check on March 17, 2022, for the following:
The United Contract of Carriage excludes coverage for electronics, medications, and food – Ms. Dadtka's other items that were not covered by the claim fit into these categories.
United Media Relations"
No one can take away the experience Dadtka had highlighting her cake-making talent. But, she says trying to recover her funds has been exhausting. That doesn't even factor in the emotional toll being a victim of theft has taken on her.
"That's the part that really upsets me. I just feel violated in general," Dadtka.
Dadtka says she was told authorities made some arrests in her theft case.
"The airport police contacted me saying we may have found your bag. We found that there was a ring of perpetrators that were going to the airport and actually stealing bags off the carousel. We've actually arrested three of them and we're going after several more," she said.
Dadtka was informed police recovered some remnants of her bag's contents and that they would ship those items to her. That was in February and she is still waiting.
Dadtka followed all of the steps travel experts recommend you take if your luggage gets lost or stolen: filing police reports and filing a claim with the airline.
Keep in mind, each airline has its own "Contract of Carriage" where it details what if anything it's liable for. You can always look up what your airline would cover before you travel.
Additionally, if you're worried about having your bag lost or stolen, you can pack anything of value in a carry-on.