DENVER — With a simple strum of his guitar, there's no questioning why Derek Dames Ohl became a musician.
"It's been going really great. Honestly, it has," he said Monday.
Then, someone stole the 28-year-old Boulder native's car last week.
"Since that's happened, it's put a standstill on how I can make my money and how I just go about living my life," Ohl said.
He had parked his car outside his friend's home on West 29th Avenue and Java Court late Wednesday night after a gig. They played some tunes on the front porch into the morning hours before going to sleep.
"I went to bed looking at my car and woke up and walked out the next day and was just, like, you know ... It was a "Dude, Where's My Car" moment that didn't end well," Ohl said.
His 2017 white Kia Soul — which has a cracked windshield, a front left rim unlike the others and several stickers on the back — was gone.
Not only did the thieves get away with his car, but they also escaped with all the music gear he uses to perform, like a PA system, microphones, cables, etc.
"It's like three to $5,000 worth of equipment," Ohl said.
To make matters worse, Ohl says the gear that was in his car was not insured, and he worries his car insurance won't be enough to cover the cost of replacing his car.
"The one thing I was lucky that I took out that night was my guitar," he said.
But no matter how talented Ohl is at playing his guitar and singing his tunes, he knows without his gear and a car to get him to his gigs, his future as an Americana singer-songwriter is in jeopardy. A tour he had scheduled for the month of November may have to be postponed, along with some of his upcoming local gigs.
"How long can I go borrowing people's cars and borrowing people's gear?" Ohl said.
However, he has faith in his music career and in others, as luck has already gotten him this far.
"The world has a weird way of helping things work out in the end, even if the end is a little bit farther out than you might want it to be," Ohl said.
Ohl is a victim of a troubling trend in Denver. According to Denver police records, there were 12,218 reports of stolen cars last year. So far this year, there have been 11,721 reports, about 500 short of last year's total. The records also show there was a 131% increase in car thefts between 2019 and 2021.
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