Thief sets off explosion while siphoning gas from U-Haul truck

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by Andrew Horansky / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on May 12, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Updated Sunday, May 12 at 11:20 AM

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas - A thief in Magnolia could have burned himself to death Thursday night over a few gallons of gas.

It happened at a storage facility along Corporate Woods Drive which rents out U-Hauls.

Cameras captured a man from several angles as he pulled up in a white Ford Explorer and parks by a big truck.

He starts siphoning gas, only to see first-hand how dangerous crime can be. There are two sparks before a blast lights up the sky, sending fire and smoke into the air.

“He got away alive, that could have been serious,” Larry Johnson said.

Johnson runs security at the site and said the man’s entire vehicle caught on fire. The suspect only seemed to notice after he pulled away and stopped again.

“Gets out while the vehicle is still in drive,” Johnson said, “And it starts to roll and you can see flames rolling out of the window.”

He eventually contains them and leaves.

“But there’s a white Ford Explorer out there somewhere with a lot of fire damage on the inside and possibly someone injured,” Johnson said.

As for the U-Haul, it was not damaged and was quickly rented. The only signs of what happened are dark marks on the ground where it was parked.

Employees said gas has been stolen before and cost them.

“If the truck is pretty full, they can almost take it down to ‘E’ (empty) and wipe us out completely,” manager Paula Johnson said. She believes the same person is behind all the siphoning.

The cameras did not capture a license plate number. More cameras will soon be added to provide more surveillance.

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