Iowa bride-to-be reunited with stolen wedding dress, SUV

Published: Mar. 10, 2020 at 7:42 AM CDT
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Davenport police confirmed Tuesday morning that they have recovered an Iowa woman's

Saturday with her wedding dress inside.

According to police, it was recovered around 9:35 p.m. Monday in the 500 block of South Ohio Ave.

The car, according to its owner, Kylee Howell, was a mess inside and many personal belongings were missing, including her daughter's car seat and book bag.

However, the bride-to-be told TV6 her wedding dress was still inside, and it appeared to be intact.

She picked it up Saturday at A Storybook Ending Bridal Salon in DeWitt.

After the appointment, she drove to Davenport, parked her car at a friend’s house on Eastmere Drive, and went out to dinner with friends to celebrate.

No long after the group returned from dinner, Howell noticed her car was missing with her dress still inside.

She told TV6 she was devastated, but was being realistic that she may never see it again. That all changed Tuesday thanks to a few vigilant Davenport women.

TV6 spoke with Dee Ahrens and Natalie Bowen, who spotted the vehicle and called police.

The mother-daughter duo said they noticed the SUV had been there a few days and late Monday night, went to check on the license plate when they realized it was likely the one that belonged to Howell.

Ahrens said, "I asked my daughter Natalie when you're going to Hy-Vee can you get the license plate, we need to check it out, and she came in the house and said "Mom! It's the lady who had the wedding dress stolen!"

Bowen said, "I had seen her story on KWQC. We were actually at home cooking dinner and listening to it and when I had seen the license plate I remembered on the interview that it had said Linn County and that she had a Hawkeye sticker in the back window... her details I was like "oh my god that's her car that's her car!" All I could think about was making sure that she found, you know, that's her car and that she got her dress back!"

Howell said, "I can't even explain how I feel. I just am so grateful."

She said at first the news seemed too good to be true and she didn't want to get her hopes up until police confirmed it was her vehicle and that her belongings were inside.

"No matter what anybody told me I wasn't going to believe it until I saw it with my own eyes."

When the SUV was pulled out of garage, she said, "I kind of took a minute to just breathe and to look at the vehicle before I took a look around and I opened up the trunk and it just kind of fell out the back and I lost it. I started crying."

Bowen said, "As a woman, as a mom, I know what it takes to plan a wedding and the details that she had to go through and to pick that special dress and then have it gone. I could only imagine how she must've felt so knowing she got her dress back was really neat."

Howell said she has been overwhelmed with emotion over the events the past few days, but above all, grateful for so many people who have reached out and offered to help. She said strangers even offered to donate their wedding dresses to her.

Howell said, "I'm thankful for this playing out the way that it did. I feel really blessed right now."

Howell posted on Facebook, expressing her gratitude. She also shared she would be responsible for paying for the damage, including the fee to get her stolen car out of the tow yard.

In an emotional post, she wrote, "These past 4 days have been a whirlwind of emotions to say the least. You never expect something terrible to happen to you, but it really changed me on many levels, and I am thankful for this incredibly difficult situation because it has been able to raise a bit of awareness on the seriousness of car theft and how deeply it can change someone’s life. These thefts took a joyride in my car for a couple days with no repercussions. They completely trashed the inside of my vehicle.. leaving ashes, weed crumbles, butts of cigars, garbage under every seat, all of my makeup broken up and smeared all over my seats and windows, so much more. They stole my daughters car seat, back pack, phone chargers, sunglasses, money.. I am forced to pay for all of these items out of MY pocket. Not them. I am forced to pay for my insurance deductible for them keying my car, stealing my keys causing me to have to replace my ignition and keys, having to pay almost $400 just to get my car out of the tow yard, I have to pay to have my home locks replaced because they know my address.."

As for the wedding planning, that will continue, and Howell says more than anything she is thrilled to marry the love of her life in September.

"I have just had moments of just being overwhelmed because I feel so blessed, because there are so many people that are not able to have the same situation I have," she said.

She is grateful to Ahrens and Bowen for looking out for her and helping reunite with her dream dress.

Ahrens said, "It's karma. I hope something good for us comes along the way, but something good for came for her and that's all that's worth it."

"West-Enders tend to get a bad rap, we are awesome people, we are tight people, and we look out for each other all the time," said.

No suspects or arrests have been named in the case.

Police said the car was unoccupied when it was recovered.

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