SEATTLE — The owner of a custom wedding dress shop in the Crown Hill neighborhood of Seattle was burglarized Wednesday night.
She said not only did they steal numerous electronics, but they took around 20 wedding dresses that she was altering for brides.
Madison Leiren is the owner of Leiren Designs and said she has been working in Seattle for more than a decade as a designer. She moved into her store in Crown Hill almost two years ago to have a permanent spot for her custom wedding dress business.
“For me, every day is the most exciting day of my life because this is my dream job,” said Leiren. “To be able to actually be a fashion designer and to do that and help people.”
But this week has been different. She said that someone drilled through the lock of her front door Wednesday night in order to break in. She had alarms that go off if windows are broken, but they did not break any windows. She checked with neighboring businesses to see if they have surveillance video.
She said the financial impacts are devastating as a small business owner.
“This was an annual revenue hit overnight,” said Leiren.
But her biggest concern is the brides whose dresses are now gone. The dresses stolen were ones she was making alterations to. She said she is going to do everything in her power to make sure the brides have their dresses on their wedding days. She is still in the process of contacting the brides.
“I can't imagine being a bride having to get one of those calls,” said Leiren. “Like, sure, it's going to be emotionally draining for me as the business owner, but the bride comes first.”
She has been frustrated with police response. She said when she came in to work Thursday she called 911 and was told to call the non-emergency line. She said she was put on hold multiple times and one time had to wait 45 minutes and the call timed out. She said she did fill out an online report and spoke with an officer on the phone who said someone would come to the scene, but that didn’t happen until about 30 hours later.
“I'm not saying that I expect the police to show up with the guy in handcuffs and say, hey, he's the one who did it, but just come and check it out and just validate a small business,” said Leiren.
She said police did not take evidence, which was a hammer left behind, and she said police told her it would be unlikely they would be able track down the people who did this.
KING 5 reached out to Seattle police who did not comment directly on this situation, but when asked about general advice for business owners, they said the following:
“Please continue to call 911 for your emergencies. We're a data driven department, so when 911 calls are made it assists in knowing what crimes are occurring and when they're occurring, which allows for better resource utilization by the department. Even though we've lost over 500 officers in the past few years, we're continuing to respond to calls as quickly as we can and investigate to hold those committing crime accountable. There are options in reporting such as the non-emergency and or online if police presence is not required. Also, utilize resources offered such as the Crime Prevention Coordinators in their area. Each precinct has one that can respond to businesses and other locations to provide tips on safety and security for crimes they're experiencing.”
Leiren lost her portfolio of pictures that was on her hard drive and laptop, which she was supposed to use for the biggest event of the year for her business.
“Well there is the Seattle Wedding Show, happening this weekend, and it is my opportunity to show my portfolio to brides that are looking for something they cant find on the rack,” said Leiren.
Now she prepares for the wedding show this weekend, while trying to work with police and insurance, so that even on her hardest day, she can still help brides with their special day.
“From the moment a bride steps in the door here, I want to exceed expectations and I'll continue to do that however I can,” said Leiren.