Three gas theft suspects badly burned in Delta motorhome fire

DELTA – Three people were badly burned while allegedly setting fire to their motor home as they attempted to steal gasoline by siphoning it from the holding tank of a gas station on River Road early Saturday morning.

Delta Police believe the motor home was parked on top of in-ground fuel tanks in the 10200-block on River Road. Police suspect that once parked the three removed the floorboards of the motorhome to get at 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 motor home," said Sgt. Sarah Swallow. "During the siphoning process an unknown ignition source ignited the on-board gasoline, resulting in the fire and severe injuries to the victims."

The two men stayed at the scene and are in critical but stable condition in hospital. The woman ran off, but was later found in New Westminster.

"A passing motorist saw the woman fleeing the motorhome and she appeared to have severe burn injuries to her face."

Gravely concerned, the police issued a bulletin during their search for her, describing her as white, in her 30s, about five feet tall, very skinny with bad teeth, and wearing pajamas.

The three are facing several charges including theft over $5,000. Their names have not been released as charges have not been formally laid.

"Typically, gasoline stolen in this fashion is subsequently sold on the black market for a substantial discount over pump prices," Swallow noted. "This case is by now 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."