“They ruined my Christmas,” 18-year-old’s custom-built car stolen, gutted in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA - An 18-year-old’s custom-built car was stolen the day before Christmas, and now police are looking for the suspects.

Jesse Lopez and his family had just gotten home from Christmas Eve dinner when they noticed his 1993 Honda Civic was missing from the driveway.

Lopez called the car 'La Sancha' (his second lady).

He told NewsChannel 4 the car was rebuilt with hard to find parts and was an attention getter.

"I got professional pictures taken of it. I took it out every Saturday night and washed it every other day. It was literally the most, it was like the pinnacle of my life," Lopez said.

Less than 48 hours after it was reported stolen, police found the Honda in Oklahoma City stripped of nearly everything.

"They took the fenders, the motor, the suspension, the wheels, the exhaust system, the interior, the interior carpet, the dashboard, the steering wheel, my seats," Lopez said.

Also taken was his pride and hard work.

"He works a minimum-wage job just to pay for the car, and he lives at home and everything he made went towards that car and to pay his insurance," said Rebecca Gleichmann, Lopez’s mother.

The family said insurance likely will not cover the loss.

"It's just a sad thing to happen to your kid. I mean right now we're down to two vehicles between three people," Gleichmann said.

"We're not in the position to lose something like that, and I just hope that they know that they ruined my Christmas," Lopez said.

Piedmont and Oklahoma City police are working together to find whoever stole the car.

Lopez said what also made it special was a title it had won at a local auto show for its impeccable condition.

Since first airing the story, KFOR has learned Lopez pleaded guilty earlier this year to breaking into four cars with the intent of stealing.

He is set to be sentenced in February.

“What he did in the past has nothing to do with the current situation. He has changed, and he knows what it feels like to be the victim. I just wanted to get the story out about the car and not about him," Gleichmann said.