In Utah, a thief was caught on camera drilling into a truck’s gas tank when he suddenly burst into flames.
KSL TV received the shocking video showing a white pickup truck pulling up to another truck in the parking lot of a fire protection company.
“The guy tried to siphon gas out of it, and he wasn’t getting the siphon to work,” said Travis Mills, the manager of Summit Fire and Protection. “He decided to drill the gas tank … and that’s when he caught on fire.”
The graphic video showed the unidentified thief running to the back of the truck and suddenly jumping up and down while his T-shirt was on fire.
Eventually, the thief collapsed and rolled across the parking lot before being assisted back in by his accomplice in the pickup.
Neither Mills nor the police was able to provide any details about the thief’s condition or whether he was identified or found. However, Mills noted that the thief was fortunate that the truck was almost empty then.
“If there were more gas in it than a gallon, this thing would have absolutely turned into a bomb,” Mills told KSL.
“It’s sad because times are tough for a lot of people, but it’s not worth the $5 that he would have saved for the injury that the guy sustained.”
According to Mills, that same truck recently had its catalytic converter taken. Gas thieves targeted it, causing them to upgrade to a $30,000 surveillance system that captured the criminal in the act.
Tony Allred, a division chief for the Salt Lake City Fire Department, said the crime was part of an alarming trend exacerbated by record-high gas prices.
“Unfortunately, given the gas prices in the valley and nationwide, we are seeing an increase in gas theft,” Allred explained.
Still, “drilling into a tank is extraordinarily dangerous,” he said. “It’s just extraordinarily dangerous for the person stealing the gas for a very low return.”