113-year-old heirloom returned to family in Surrey after being swiped from porch

·2 min read

A 113-year-old christening dress that has been passed down along generations of a family in Surrey, B.C., has been returned after it was stolen from their front porch.

"We were just beyond words," said Nathanael Powell, whose son is set be to baptized in the dress in August.

Nathanael Powell says he was playing with his children in his backyard on Thursday morning when the dress arrived via courier from family in the Maritimes, where it was last used.

When his cousin called to confirm he'd received the delivery, Powell checked his front porch and realized there was a problem.

Package stolen 20 minutes after delivery

Powell says cameras from his house showed FedEx left the package at the door, and less than 20 minutes later a thief with a clipboard and wearing a reflective vest pulled up in a van and took it.

He first contacted RCMP. On Saturday morning, he posted photos of the dress and the alleged culprit. The post was shared more than a 1,000 times.

That night at 10 p.m., an investigator showed up at his door with the christening dress in hand.

"It was great," Powell said.

'The community came out for us'

The officer told Powell someone had recognized the van because it had been impounded in their lot, he said. Officers then tracked down the thief, and eventually found the package and the dress discarded in a nearby ditch.

"It's pretty amazing that the community came out for us," Powell said.

The dress has been worn by 59 family members over several generations, Powell said, and his two-month-old son is scheduled to be the 60th child to wear it at his baptism this August.

"It doesn't mean anything to anybody else, but it's a really high sentimental value to our family," he said.

Surrey RCMP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.