A suspected gas thief in Utah was caught on surveillance video setting himself on fire after allegedly using a drill in an attempt to siphon gasoline from a truck. The alleged heist and its vicious conclusion unfolded in the parking lot of Summit Fire and Protection, Salt Lake City NBC affiliate KSL-TV reported Tuesday morning. The incident follows other reports across the country of people plotting extraordinary schemes to divert gas amid record fuel prices.
Previously, Summit Fire and Protection, a company that sells fire safety products and services, had already been attacked after one of its trucks had its gasoline stolen and its catalytic converter stolen, reports KSL-TV.
Another suspected thief tried to steal gasoline from the company’s truck on Saturday morning, using a drill on the vehicle’s tank after the siphon failed, company branch manager Travis Mills told the station.
A suspected thief was caught on surveillance video setting himself on fire after drilling a hole in a truck to extract gasoline. A gas pump at a Chevron gas station on June 9, 2022 in Houston, Texas.
Surveillance video of the incident shows flames near the back of the truck before a man in a burning shirt fled the vehicle and rolled across the parking lot to stop the fire. With the fire extinguished, a pickup truck arrived for the man, according to the station.
“The reason he’s running away is if there was more gas than a gallon, this thing would have absolutely turned into a bomb,” Mills told the station. “It’s sad because times are tough for a lot of people, but it’s not worth the $5 I would have saved for the guy’s injury.”
The average price of a gallon of gas in the US is currently more than $5 a gallon, according to the American Automobile Association, with Utah close to the national average.
With gasoline prices soaring, would-be thieves have taken more risks to obtain the increasingly valuable fuel. The American Association of Poison Control Centers earlier this spring warned would-be thieves about the risk of siphon gas poisoning.
In Florida, a group of suspected fuel thieves used a “homemade device” to steal $60,000 worth of gasoline. A gas station in Houston reported that thieves stole more than 1,000 gallons of fuel from underground storage tanks over the course of three days.
“Unfortunately, given gas prices in the valley and across the country, we’re seeing an increase in gas thefts,” Salt Lake City Fire Marshal Division Chief Tony Allred told KSL-TV.
He described drilling into a tank as “extraordinarily dangerous” and said it could cause an explosion from “very low return.”
Authorities have not identified the suspect or the charges.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.