Single father has car stolen in Metro Detroit following auto theft trend

‘I don’t think they really understand how much they’re hurting people’

Having a car stolen is a major inconvenience for anyone, but a single parent who relies on that vehicle to see their kids and get to work can be life-changing.

Navy veteran Brandan Diepenhorst woke up Tuesday (Dec. 13) morning to his daughter telling him their car was missing from in front of their home in Lincoln Park. And it’s much more than just an inconvenience for the single dad of five.

“I have sole custody of my oldest two as they live with me 24/7,” said Diepenhorst. “My two older boys live in Defiance, Ohio. I get them every weekend. I meet her halfway. I have to be able to get there to get them. Not seeing my boys is not an option for any of us. My boys and I are so close. Not seeing them will crush all of us.”

The car was insured, but it won’t fix everything.

“Insurance, yeah, they might cover the rest of my loan, but I can’t go get a new car after that,” Diepenhorst said. “I don’t have credit right now.”

Diepenhorst had a blue Kia Sorento, and his vehicle wasn’t the only one disappearing.

“Kia and Hyundai thefts have been huge, city, state, and nationwide,” said Detroit police Commander Eric Decker.

Decker says auto thefts are up 25% this year, and 10 to 12% of that can directly be attributed to viral videos on social media.

“So something came out on Facebook or TikTok, basically how to steal a Kia in a couple of seconds,” Decker said.

Diepenhorst suspects the thieves are just kids doing dumb things, but he doesn’t have time for it.

“I don’t think they really understand how much they’re hurting people,” Diepenhorst said. “How much they’re hurting families.”

Inside the car was one of his kid’s car seats and his daughter’s tablet for school. Plus a couple of things you can’t put a price on, like his whistle that he used when he was coaching his kids’ teams and a rosary that the pope blessed.

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About the Authors:

Jason is Local 4’s utility infielder. In addition to anchoring the morning newscast, he often reports on a variety of stories from the tragic, like the shootings at Michigan State, to the off-beat, like great gas station food.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.