Police: Family’s classic car found stripped, damaged in Oklahoma City field

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OKLAHOMA CITY — A family who was pleading for the return of their classic car no longer has to search for the stolen heirloom. “It was purchased by my stepdad and he, he passed already, but we always worked on it and we got it to the point where, you know little by little, it started looking a whole lot better,” Lombardo Mendoza told News 4.
The 1964 Chevy Bel Air has been a part of Mendoza’s family for 16 years. During that time, he said that he has worked toward making it a show car. “It took me a lot of time and money and also, there’s a lot of memories in it,” Mendoza said. However, that work seems to be lost after thieves stole the car from a storage facility on March 30. “I went in to go check on it and the car was just gone. I went and spoke to the manager and I’m like, ‘Where’s my car?’ He’s like, ‘Well, it should be there,’” Mendoza said. Mendoza said before he parked the car at the storage facility near I-240 and Santa Fe, he took the battery out to prevent this type of theft.

“Kind of felt like my heart sinking. I just also thought you know, there’s thieves out there and they don’t care,” he said.

Mendoza is heartbroken because he told News 4 he was planning on passing the car down to his two young sons.

Now, the search for the car is over.

Authorities tell News 4 that Oklahoma City police recovered the vehicle on Tuesday after it was found in a field near S.E. 4th and Grand.

Officials say the car was completely stripped when it was found. Investigators say the engine was missing, it was spray painted black and the windows were broken. Also, the alleged thieves destroyed the seats to eliminate finger prints. So far, police have arrested 30-year-old Kenneth Smith on one complaint of larceny of a vehicle. Authorities tell News 4 there are other persons of interest in the case, but no other arrests have been made.

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