Stolen car with wedding dress inside returned

December 10, 2011 (CHICAGO)

A couple, in town for their wedding, got their car stolen Thursday night in the Lakeview neighborhood. The wedding dress was still in the trunk.

The couple had planned their nuptials for Friday in Chicago. The bride and groom met online and have been dating for the last two years before deciding to get married.

"She was happy that we recovered the dress," said C.J., the groom.

C.J. picked up his fiancee, who is from Thailand, at the airport and the couple returned to their Lakeview hotel. The next morning they discovered someone took their car and the precious item stored in the trunk.

"First they thought it was relocated due to the snow that came in. We also saw some broken glass in the street so we decided to make a 911 call," said C.J.

But it was only hours later when the couple's 2008 Kia Optima traveled down Monroe Street on the city's West Side that two Harrison District cops noticed something strange.

"Just observed the passenger side window broken, which has been in the past a red flag for a recently stolen vehicle," said Officer John McKenna, Chicago Police Department.

McKenna and his partner, Officer Paul Sandoval, quickly ran the licenses plates to find the car had been reported stolen Friday morning. Its driver, Milus Hendricks, 38, was arrested while authorities called C.J. and his bride to let them know about their find.

"His first thing was, they were getting married today and he wanted to know if there was a dress in the trunk," said Sandoval.

In a gesture of kindness, the officers returned both the car and the white, full length, strapless gown and its veil to the couple early Saturday morning just hours before their wedding.

In her native Thai, the bride, Silawan, expressed her joy saying she's happy she got her dress back for Saturday's ceremony at City Hall.

"We are extremely thankful they were able to find it," said C.J.

The couple plans to head to C.J.'s home state of Iowa where they'll have a wedding reception.

The man found in the car has been charged with misdemeanor trespassing with a vehicle because the officers can't prove he actually stole the car.

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