|Police arrest Onelio Castro after he caused an explosion |
while trying to steal gas on Friday, Aug. 15, 2014.
(Click all images to enlarge.)
Onelio Castro was in the act of stealing gas yesterday at a service station in Miami at 71st Avenue and Flagler Street when something went terribly wrong. Suddenly, the van he was pumping the gas into exploded in a fireball, sending smoke into the air that could be seen for miles. [See video at bottom of this post.]
Luckily, no innocent bystanders were killed. There's no telling what might have happened had the fire from the explosion made it into the station's underground tanks.
Castro fled the scene, but police caught up with him a few blocks away and arrested him.
|What's left of Onelio Castro's van following yesterday's explosion.|
All of Miami's TV stations covered the story.
But what no one has mentioned, so far, is that yesterday's near-tragedy might have been averted had Castro been locked up after trying the very same thing in Miami in January 2013, or in Boca Raton in 2012 ... or in June 2010 when police in Medley arrested Castro for "possession of an illegal gasoline storage tank and loitering."
From the Sun-Sentinel, Nov. 5, 2012:
By Marc Freeman
The green 1997 Dodge Caravan with Florida tag 546YQB wasn't just an old gas guzzler — it was a secret gas stealing machine.
When Boca Raton Fire Rescue reached the crashed vehicle about 7 p.m. Sept. 14, the crew looked inside and made an unlikely discovery: A 500-gallon plastic tank and 55-gallon drum loaded with fuel, along with a battery-powered pump, rubber hoses and an open hole in the floorboard between the driver and passenger seats.
Onelio Castro Arroyo, the minivan's driver, had recently made an illegal fill-up from unlocked, underground storage tanks at the Chevron station, 690 W. Glades Road, according to court records.
Police are still searching for Arroyo, 45, of Miami, who abandoned the vehicle and ran off shortly after he jumped a curb and ran into a median.
It may be lucky the minivan didn't blow up that night, said police spokesman Mark Economou, noting that a witness observed Arroyo stumble out with a beer in his hand.
Castro was booked into jail late Friday night. It appears he's already been granted bond.
If this case makes it to trial, perhaps this time Castro will get what he deserves and be locked up for a long time.
Or maybe the courts are waiting for him to do something really horrific - like kill a few dozen people - before they take him seriously.