MODESTO -- It seats only one, its gas tank holds just a quart, and it's not even street legal, but someone stole a Shriner's Miniature Model-T car from his Modesto driveway.
Anyone who's been to a parade likely has seen Shriners members riding around in similar miniature cars to help raise awareness and money for Shriners hospitals.
Wesley Rash, 84, had the "Mini Lizzie" parked in his driveway on a trailer. He kept it chained and locked to a tree. But the lock broke last week and Rash hadn't had time to get a new one.
It had been unlocked for only a few days when, sometime from 7 p.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday, someone took the Mini Lizzie and its trailer.
"I don't know why anyone would want to take it," Rash said.
He built the car about four years ago using only a picture as a reference and handcrafting many of the parts, such as the wheels.
He said one of the miniature cars can be purchased for about $3,500 and he has had offers from strangers to buy it.
But Rash uses the car for charity. The Mini Lizzie's presence at car shows brings in about $5,000 in donations each year for Shriners hospitals, he said.
Rash also drives it in about a dozen parades around Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.
Its next appearance is scheduled for February when Rash is supposed to drive it in Ripon's Almond Blossom parade.
Rash said a friend has been checking eBay and Craigslist ads for the car, but the search has come up empty. He hopes anyone who knows where it is will speak up and call police or return it.
Anyone with information about the car is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters can text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Just type "TIP704" plus a message.
Modesto Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter, @ModestoBeeCrime.