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Navy veteran, father of five forgives car thief, but pleads for vehicle back

Three people were transported to a hospital Friday after a shooting at a mall in Gastonia, North Carolina. (Fernando Salazar/Miami Herald/TNS)

A message from a 36-year-old Lincoln Park to the thief who stole his only mode of transportation:

“I’m an ordained minister so I say this — I forgive you and I’ll pray for you, but I want you to know you have hurt a struggling family.”

Brandan Diepenhorst is stranded and his 2020 Kia Sorento is long gone, along with the thief or thieves who took it.

Life was difficult enough for Diepenhorst, but sometime between 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 12, and 4 a.m. the following morning, things just got a lot worse.

The father of five children and U.S. Navy veteran said he came home, made some dinner and prepared to go to bed.

“I saw a white pickup just sitting outside and I told my daughter to lock the door,” Diepenhorst said. “When she went to get her Chromebook she yelled, ‘Dad, the car is gone.'”

The Kia is dark blue that has a US Navy sticker on the left windshield and a blue Papa Bear sticker on the right side.

An Umbrella corporation magnet is on the tailgate.

Diepenhorst, was working as a truck driver and had an accident back in February during a snowstorm.

He said he was just getting back to his job and starting to recover from that hardship, and now this.

“It was helping me pull out of a hole,” he said. “I’ve had a wave of bad luck.”

He publicly made an offer to the thief on social media, offering to give his PlayStation 5 to the individual as an added incentive to return it.

Less than 24 hours after the vehicle was reported stolen, friends had reached out to Diepenhorst.

One person offered him money for a lift to get to work.

Another person told him if the thief actually takes him up on his offer, he would replace his PlayStation for him.

Diepenhorst works about 20 miles from his house and said he needs to have something sustainable.

He has learned a lot about his vehicle now that it’s gone.

According to Diepenhorst, he has been told the car is a common target for theft due to the ease in which it can be taken.

He also has since learned of a group called “The Kia Boys” that allegedly operates out of Detroit taking the car.

Although police are aware of the theft, Diepenhorst said he has not heard any encouraging news about the chances of it being recovered.

“I’m a Navy vet, a single dad and all I want is my car back,” Diepenhorst said. “I need my car.”


(c) 2022 The News Herald

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