Video Shows Gas Thief Setting Self on Fire, Crashing Truck Into Home in Mesa, Ariz.


A homeowner's surveillance camera caught a would-be gas thief in Mesa, Ariz., bungling his crime and setting himself, the car he was trying to siphon fuel from and a house on fire.

Police said that suspect Herbert C. Ridge has himself to blame for messing up the crime because he was using a motorized pump to siphon gas from a pickup truck, Phoenix station KNXV-TV reported.

Homeowner Mitch Drum had recently installed a surveillance camera on his property when the mishap occurred. The video shows a man, allegedly Ridge, catching fire and jumping into the truck, but when the truck also lights up, he jumps out as the vehicle speeds away and crashes into a nearby home. The man can be seen rolling around on the ground as his shirt becomes engulfed in flames.

No one was inside the house at the time of the crash, police said.

"I heard a boom outside my house, so I ran out and saw the truck on fire with the guy running away," Drum told ABC News. "I ran off after him, but I didn't want to go physical because who knows what he might be on."

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Neighbor Tim Worth heard the truck crash into the house and rushed to help.

"I heard a loud boom, an explosion, and just came running, looking for hoses to put out the fire," Worth told KTVK-TV in Phoenix.

The fire from the truck scorched the garage of the home and set its roof ablaze. Ridge was in bad shape and rushed to the hospital with severe burns.

"He was all burnt up," Drum told KNXV-TV. He added in an interview with ABC News: "He had a broken arm -- you could see it bulging -- and a lot of smoke residue. I could see the smoke on him -- gashes, arms broken -- he was just mangled up."

Ridge remains in the hospital but is expected to survive. Police have so far not charged anyone in the incident, reports said.

Criminals do a lot of stupid things, and this is by no means the only example. In May, a couple allegedly posing as contractors were trying to break into a home, but their plan went awry when the neighbor -- who happened to be a police officer -- spotted them. And in January, a house fire in California revealed a massive marijuana grow operation.

Want to keep your home safe from crooks? Check out these home security tips.

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