Priceless wedding dress stolen with couple’s car

The bride-to-be planned to wear her mother's dress in her own wedding

Nicole Richwalsky's mother on her wedding day in 1979. The dress was in Nicole and her fiance's car that was stolen in September 2017. (Courtesy of Nicole Richwalsky)

HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN) — A recently engaged couple is heartbroken after their car was stolen with something even more important inside.

The car was new to James Rand and Nicole Richwalsky, who had been saving up for it for almost a year.

James Rand and Nicole Richwalsky hope the thief who stole their car returns it, and the priceless wedding dress that was inside. (KOIN)
James Rand and Nicole Richwalsky hope the thief who stole their car returns it, and the priceless wedding dress that was inside. (KOIN)

“I step outside and I go, ‘Car’s not here.’ Should have been right there, right across the street,” Rand said. “We’ve had a really rough go of things for the last 2 years. This one of the goals we had for the year, was to buy a car, and I didn’t think it was going to happen and then it did.”

The blue-green 2008 Hyundai Sonata was stolen from right in front of their Hillsboro apartment on September 19.

The item they really miss is a priceless wedding dress that Richwalsky was storing in her car until she could have it altered. The dress was old — handmade by Richwalsky’s great grandmother and great aunt for her mom’s wedding in the summer of 1979.

“My mom told me a story about how they went down to Canal Street and bought the lace, which had been imported from Italy,” Richwalsky told KOIN 6 News. “Just a one of a kind dress. You can’t put a price on that.”

Richwalsky’s parents were high school sweethearts and still going strong. She planned to wear the dress for her own wedding to Rand but was keeping it in the car because the box took up too much space in their apartment.

Rand thinks he might have dropped the car keys on the ground near the car and maybe someone impulsively took it. Now the couple hopes that person has a change of heart.

“I understand the temptation,” Rand said. “I understand the temptation but think about the people that you’re harming.”

Rand and Richwalsky obviously want their car back, but the car can be replaced while the family heirloom can not.

“The two people that made it are no longer with us,” Richwalsky said.