Packers fan all smiles after Waupaca officer helps replace stolen football

Dennis Gauerke, all smiles and holding an autographed photo of Jordy Nelson. (WLUK/Gabrielle Mays)

WAUPACA (WLUK) -- If you talk to Dennis Gauerke's mom Ronda Dobberstein, she'll tell you, his smile is something she hasn't seen in a while.

That's because, in January, someone stole his football, autographed by Packers players.

"When he would come out of his room, he would see it right on the shelf, on the wall there," said Ronda Dobberstein.

Born with cerebral palsy, not everything comes easy for Gauerke. Seeing her son upset left Dobberstein with a lot of unanswered questions.

"Couldn't understand why they would take from the disabled," Dobberstein said.

She contacted the Waupaca Police Department and Officer Wesley Zube started an investigation.

"There were other smaller items missing, clothing, bedding. But obviously that's the big ticket item. That's his pride and joy," said Wesley Zube.

He wasn't sure if the football would ever be returned and, he thought, maybe the Packers could help. He decided to write a letter and faxed it in.

What did the letter say?

"Just kinda, like, the story just stated that I'd appreciate their assistance, but I understand they probably get 100 letters a day, you know. So, I didn't really know if anything would really come out of it."

As it turns out, the Packers responded and, eventually, a care package arrived at the police station.

"Aaron Rodgers' face on a pillow, picture of Jordy Nelson, a water bottle," Zube said.

He made the special delivery Wednesday, just in time for Gauerke's 23rd birthday. His favorite item, "The pillow," Gauerke exclaimed.

The police department posted a picture of Gauerke and Zube, all smiles, on its Facebook page as a thank you to the Packers.

"The smile on his face reminded me why I do what I do," Zube said. He added, the picture of the two of them will be added to his desk soon.

Zube says the investigation into the stolen football is still open, and anyone with information can contact the Waupaca police at 715-258-4400.

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