Independence residents are pitching in to help a 93-year-old Korean War veteran whose car was stolen by a young person who pretended to be interested in buying it.
“It was a gut punch,” Monte Nordeen, who was helping his grandfather sell the SUV, told Fox News “You’re just in total disbelief. Time kind of slows down and you’re like, ‘What just happened?’”
Nordeen and his father were helping Ret. Army Sgt. Bill Marsh sell his 2011 Dodge Durango. They planned to meet the potential buyer at a centrally located public place with lots of cameras, to be safe. The buyer suggested the parking lot of the Target store at E. 39th Street in Independence, where he said he worked.
“He was really polite,” Nordeen said. “Even in the messages to me, he always said, ‘Drive safe,’ ‘We’ll see you soon’ and all these things — so you just completely have your guard down. I’m thinking, `this is a really nice young man.’”
After answering some questions about the vehicle and letting the young man know that they were selling the car for their family member, the Nordeens agreed to let him test drive the car around the parking lot. They handed the man the keys and Nordeen started to open the door so he could get in and ride along with him.
“I went to reach for the handle and the door locked and the car sped off,” Nordeen said. “I looked up and I saw my dad standing across from me and my heart sank. I said, ‘Dad, he just stole Grandpa’s car.’”
They called the Independence Police Department, which arrived on the scene, searched the area and took the report. The suspect was gone. Two weeks later, however, Officer Drew Wurtz recovered the car. In the ensuing police chase, the tires of the car were left shredded and his car was impounded by a tow company.
Dorinda Stayton set up a GoFundMe account for her grandfather, something she said she never had done before. Within just one week, the fundraising goal of $7,000, which is what Marsh was asking for his car, was nearly reached.
“It really took us swallowing our pride a little bit, being a little vulnerable and putting it out to the universe to see what might happen,” she said. “We are just overwhelmed with all of the amazing people that are still in this world and who care.”
When the owners of the tow company that had impounded the car heard Marsh’s story, they immediately offered to put new tires on it. The body shop next to the tow company also has offered to fix up the car and make sure everything is in good condition.
“We’re honest people,” Stayton said. “We pray that everyone would have goodness in their hearts. I even pray for the kid that got caught. You know, he stole a dozen other cars. I’m glad that he’s not doing this anymore. I hope he turns his life around.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice