Man Collects 50 BMWs but Loses Wife, Kids, and Freedom

Inside a strange addiction to German automotive engineering
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2017 5:19 PM CDT
Updated May 7, 2017 10:33 AM CDT
Inside One Man's Life-Ruining Addiction ... to BMWs
One man's addiction to BMWs destroyed his life.   (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Terrance's addiction cost him his family, job, and home. But it wasn't a need for drugs, or alcohol, or gambling that landed the Colorado accountant in a psychiatric hospital and high-security prison; it was an addiction to BMWs, Jalopnik reports in an unbelievable piece on the incredible lure of German engineering. Terrance, whose last name is withheld in the piece, wasn't obsessed with just any BMWs, but the 2002 models of the 1960s and 1970s, which he calls "perfectly designed and engineered." In 2013, Terrance owned "exactly 50" BMWs. His wife and kids knew about eight of them. The rest were stored at a friend's salvage yard, in his work's parking lot, and elsewhere around the state. He also had storage units full of BMW parts.

BMWs aren't cheap—50 of them even less so—and Terrance needed to fund his addiction. To do so, he says he embezzled $320,000 from his employers by giving himself extra paychecks. His bosses say it was more than $400,000. Eventually, his work found out about the stolen money and his wife found out about the secret cars. The repercussions to his lies were swift: Terrance's wife filed for divorce, his kids stopped speaking to him, he became suicidal, and he eventually found himself in prison. He blames BMW culture. “BMW enthusiasts are frequently programmed into an attitude that all other makes and models are inferior," Terrance says. Read the full piece here to find out what Terrance is driving as he tries to rebuild his life. (More Longform stories.)

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