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Gas Thief Catches His Truck, Himself on Fire; Crashes Into House

The Phoenix DUI Blog – by Corey Licht, Esq.

With gas prices up, people are going to absurd lengths to fill their tanks.

Herbert C. Ridge reportedly fashioned a homemade electric gas siphon to steal fuel from other people’s vehicles, reports. Unfortunately for Ridge, the gadget malfunctioned, setting fire to himself, his truck, and a nearby home.

Ridge suffered severe burns and is now facing some serious charges, including DUI and felony criminal damage.

Ridge was using the siphon to steal fuel from a truck parked in the driveway of a Mesa home when a spark from the device likely caught Ridge’s clothes on fire. Chaplin-esque hilarity ensued.

Ridge ran into the street, dropped to the ground, and rolled around to try to put out the flames. When he thought he was in the clear, Ridge got back into his truck and fled the scene.

However, he was mistaken about the flames being extinguished, and the fire soon spread to the inside of his truck. Ridge opened the door and bailed out, but the truck kept rolling down the road. It eventually crashed into a home a few doors down from the site of the theft.

“I heard a loud boom, an explosion, and just came running looking for hoses to put out the fire,” neighbor Tim Worth told 3TV.

The best part: It was all caught on tape. A neighbor’s newly installed surveillance cameras recorded the bizarre incident.

Fortunately no one besides Ridge was hurt in the incident. He was taken to the Maricopa County Burn Unit for treatment.

Ridge has been charged with DUI, theft, felony criminal damage, and possession of dangerous drugs. If it’s his first DUI offense, Ridge is facing a minimum of 10 days in jail, a fine of $1,250, a 90-day license suspension, and the installation of an ignition interlock system on his car if convicted.

All that for a tank of gas. Even $4 a gallon is small change compared to the DUI fines, restitution, and medical costs Ridge is now facing.

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5 Responses to Gas Thief Catches His Truck, Himself on Fire; Crashes Into House

  1. BentSpear says:

    About as stupid as this one:

    Yesterday, on Long Island, Steven Pena, a 23 year old Freeport FD volunteer Firefighter, was arrested after he used an electric vacuum in “an attempt to illegally siphon gasoline” from a fire department vehicle — in the process setting on fire that vehicle and his own vehicle when the electrical current contacted the gas and its fumes. 2 Freeport volunteer Firefighters were injured attempting to put out the fire, which destroyed both vehicles.

    It happened at about 1340 hours yesterday at the Hose Company No. 5 firehouse on Leonard Avenue. Mr. Pena took his 2000 Mitsubishi , parked it near a fire department vehicle, and began trying to siphon the gas with the vacuum cleaner. As a result of the incident, Pena was arrested and charged with fourth-degree arson. He is scheduled for arraignment today.
    The Secret List 11-6-12 / 1036 Hours

  2. # 1 NWO Hatr says:

    I couldn’t resist this one. The video alone is worth the price of admission.

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