HOUSTON -

A local Marine tracked down his stolen truck using the internet, but sadly he wasn't able to reach it soon enough.

The Marine Corps motto is Semper Fi, which means always faithful. Former Marine Corps Corporal Mitchel Akin served his country faithfully in Afghanistan. Now the brave veteran could use your help after car thieves stole his powerful pickup truck and then trashed it.

Akin, 24, tries to start the engine on his pride and joy. His 1997 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck with the 5.9 liter turbo diesel engine. But there's nothing -- the truck has been destroyed by thieves.

"That was my baby, man. You know everything that's on it, did all the work on it. I bought the parts, I did the work on it," Akin said.

Akin is a U.S. Marine veteran who risked his life in Afghanistan and just returned to civilian life a few months ago. The first thing he did when he got back was buy the truck of his dreams -- white, gleaming, powerful. It was a beauty. But three months ago a car thief stole it right out of the parking lot where Akin is going to school.

"My heart just sank, right then and there, I just knew it was gone," he said.

Through the sheer guts and determination of a Marine, Akin actually tracked down his stolen truck himself, but when he finally found the pickup, it was ruined. The front and rear bumpers were torn off, upholstery ripped, windows broken out and the pearl white finish painted over. And the truck doesn't run anymore. It won't even start.

"They just beat it up, man. It's going to take quite a bit to get it back the way it was," Akin said.

It could cost upwards of $7,000 to restore his truck to the way it was. If you would like to help in some way to put Akin's truck back together, you can email Bill Spencer at bspencer@click2houston.com.

Houston police have made no arrests in this case.