Gas Thief Catches Himself on Fire While Drilling Truck's Fuel Tank


One thief’s effort to steal gasoline from a truck went up in flames – literally.

As gas prices climbed throughout June, desperation set in across America, including in Salt Lake City when a truck that already had been preyed upon by thieves became something that two more thieves could not ignore, according to KSL-TV.

The truck was parked outside of Byrd’s Fire Protection in Utah’s capital, and its catalytic converter already had been stolen. Although the truck’s gasoline had been siphoned, two thieves weren’t aware of that when they showed up on an early-June day to be the stars of a security camera video.

“Some people try to take the easy way out of everything,” branch manager Travis Mills said as he walked KSL through the video of the failed attempt, which took place at about 10 a.m. on a sunny Saturday.

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“The guy tried to siphon gas out of it, and he wasn’t getting the siphon to work,” Mills said. “So he decided to drill the gas tank, and that’s when he caught on fire.”

There isn’t a lot of action on the surveillance video at the start, other than a white pickup parked next to a work truck, with a would-be thief underneath the work truck.

The video gets interesting when the man under the work truck emerges. His shirt is on fire.

The man runs away from the truck, then does the stop, drop and roll routine to snuff the flames as he rolls across the parking lot.

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The white truck then picks up the man and zooms off.

“The reason why he’s fleeing is that, if there were more gas in it than a gallon, this thing would have absolutely turned into a bomb,” Mills said. “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.”

The incident came despite a $30,000 security system the company had installed.

Mills said attempts to steal have been “extensive.” Byrd’s Fire Protection is not alone.

“Unfortunately, given the gas prices in the valley and nationwide, we are seeing an increase in gas thefts,” said Division Chief Tony Allred, Salt Lake City Fire Marshal.

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“Drilling into a tank is extraordinarily dangerous,” Allred added, saying it usually is done only in emergencies.

Allred said the drill, drill bit, or even static electricity could set off an explosion.

“It’s just extraordinarily dangerous for the person stealing the gas for a very low return,” Allred said, according to KSL.

Mills said the company has a major problem on its hands.

“Horrendous expense,” Mills said. “We have downtime with our guys, immediately. Oftentimes we don’t know what’s going on with it until we go to get in it (truck), and now your gas is gone and it doesn’t start.”

And then there is the issue of parts.

“We’re finding that gas tanks are hard to come by,” Mills said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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