Iowa City’s Catherine’s Boutique pink bench returned

The bench was stolen and returned twice in one week.


Matt Sindt

Catherines Boutique on North Dubuque Street by Iowa Ave. Thursday, August 25, 2022.

Madeleine Willis, News Reporter

The iconic pink bench that sits outside Catherine’s Boutique in downtown Iowa City was recently stolen twice in one week and returned by Iowa City residents.

The clothing, shoes, and accessories store, located at 7 S. Dubuque St., placed the bench outside 25 years ago for people to relax on.

Map by Jami Martin-Trainor/The Daily Iowan

The Iowa City Police Department reported 184 thefts from buildings in Iowa City last year, up 11.5 percent from 165 thefts in 2020, according to the Iowa City Police Department annual report.

Catherine’s Boutique posted on Instagram, citing that the bench was first taken from the shop display on Aug. 17.

The boutique posted again via its Instagram account on Aug. 18 asking Iowa City community members to help it find its bench.

“HELP US IOWA CITY! In the late evening, August 17th, someone stole our beloved pink bench, which we’ve had sitting outside for 25 years,” the post stated. “PLEASE HELP US FIND OUR BENCH. We’re literally distraught. Please share this post!”

The bench was first returned the morning of Aug. 19 by an unknown person, Catherine’s Boutique sales associate, Sam Schroder said.

“We were happy to see it, but we’re not sure who brought it back,” Schroder said.

Schroder said this was the first time the bench had ever been stolen, but the bench’s bright color may be a reason for the multiple thefts.

“It used to be black, then we painted it pink, so maybe it's more appealing,” she said.

The bench was stolen again for a second time on Aug. 20, Schroder said.

University of Iowa 2021 alum Mia Brdecka and her fiancé Nora Anderson returned the bench the next morning on Aug. 21.

Brdecka said she and Anderson found the bench on the way to Bread Garden Market, located in the Pedestrian Mall, when they saw the bench outside Herteen and Stocker Jewelers on 1 S. Dubuque St.

Brdecka said she recognized the bench immediately after seeing social media posts about its disappearance.

“That’s out of place,” she said. “That’s the pink bench.”

Brdecka said the two employees working at the store were excited and grateful when they returned the bench.

“They let us pick out a shirt as a reward,” she said.

Lee Hermiston, Iowa City public safety information officer, wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan that those with businesses should secure decor and other items inside after they close for the day.

To prevent further thefts, Schroder said store employees will drag the bench inside at night.

“We’re ruining the fun,” she said.