Last weekend emergency responders were called to a Delta (British Columbia) gas station where a motorhome was fully engulfed in flames.
At about 3 a.m. on March 15, police and fire found two male victims at the gas station in critical condition. A female victim reported fleeing from the fire was later found at a New Westminster address. She was treated for severe burn injuries to her face.
Delta Police investigators believe that the three people were injured while attempting to steal gas from the in-ground fuel tanks.
Once parked over the station’s holding tanks, the suspects then removed a trap door in the floorboards of the motorhome and accessed the tanks.
Police estimate that the suspects siphoned hundreds of litres of gasoline from the in-ground tank into a large plastic storage tank inside the motorhome. During the siphoning process an unknown ignition source ignited the on-board gasoline, resulting in the fire and severe injuries to the victims.
“Typically, gasoline stolen in this fashion is subsequently sold on the black market for a substantial discount over pump prices,” said Delta Police spokesperson A/Sgt. Sarah Swallow, in a statement to the media.
“This case is by no means the first of its kind and it illustrates the potentially devastating impact of this type of criminal behaviour. This method of obtaining gasoline poses inherent dangers to innocent bystanders, first responders, property, and the suspects themselves.”
Police spokesperson added that the investigation is ongoing, and the suspects face several potential charges, including theft over $5,000.
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