CHICAGO (CBS) — A Mundelein village trustee running for re-election nearly was out of luck when her election packet disappeared last week, but she managed to turn her luck around with the help of her supporters.

Dawn Abernathy was ready to turn in petitions with 125 signatures to get on the ballot for re-election. She kept the petitions in her car, but when she went to her car Thursday morning, they had vanished.

“Tore up the house, tore up the car, called my mother to say ‘Did I leave it at your house?’ because the last thing I could have thought of was that it was taken out of my car,” she said.

With every signature gone, Abernathy had little time to recover before Monday’s deadline. Her first move was to file a police report; as a lost items case, not a theft, because she couldn’t put a dollar value on the lost petitions.

“I guess I was a little embarrassed saying three dollars for the clipboard, because truly that’s the value of items stolen,” she said.

Afterward, she took her story to Facebook. Supporters met her at the Mundelein rain station on a chilly morning, and they regained every signature lost.

“It probably was like 2 degrees. It was very cold, but we took turns asking people for signatures,” she said.

Thanks to all the help, Abernathy’s petitions made it to Mundelein village hall ahead of the deadline.

“You can’t dwell on something negative happening, or something not going your way, because in life it’s never going to all go your way. You turn around and say, ‘Okay, let’s try it this way, now,’” Abernathy said.

Now, she’s left wondering what happened to the original petitions.

“It was either kids being funny, or it was someone who didn’t want me to be on the ballot,” she said.

Six candidates are vying for three seats on the village board in next year’s election in Mundelein.

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