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Fallen deputy’s son was outbid in auction for dad’s squad car, but left with keys anyway

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Tanner Brownlee really had his heart set on purchasing his late father’s squad car at a Colorado auction, and was crestfallen when it sold for $60,000, far above its market value, and well beyond what Brownlee could afford.

When Weld County Deputy Sam Brownlee was killed in the line of duty five years ago, Tanner was only 15. Both he and his brother Chase were looking forward to getting their father’s squad car as a memento, according to ABC 7 News Denver.

“It’d mean a lot to me and my brother. We’ve been through a lot,” said Tanner.

The Dodge Charger was auctioned off Wednesday to raise money for Concerns Of Police Survivors, or COPS, which assists the survivors of police officers killed in the line of duty.

“If we do get it tonight, I kind of hope my mom will let me drive it around tonight,” Tanner said before the auction, according to News 7.

When Tanner heard about the auction, he was able to raise $3,000 through a GoFundMe account. He figured that amount, plus what he had saved would be sufficient to purchase the car with 147,000 hard-driven miles on the odometer.

But he was wrong. This was a charity auction, where fair market value has little meaning.

Tanner’s opening bid of $2,500 was soon swallowed up in a flurry of higher offers, and it surpassed it’s actual Kelly Blue Book value of $12,500.

“60! Sold it your way, Mr. Steve Wells. Thank you very much,” the auctioneer finally said.

The local rancher paid $60,000 for the squad car.

Then he did a remarkable thing. He approached Tanner and handed him the keys.

“Tanner, here’s your car,” Wells said.

“You had no idea that that guy in the back was bidding and was going to hand you the keys?” asked 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger.

“Nope. I shook his hand and I didn’t know,” said Tanner. “It means so much to me.”

Then Tanner decided to do a remarkable thing right back. He decided to donate the GoFundMe sum to COPS.

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