• Jun 12, 2006
There had to be a dark side, didn't there, to the way civilians react to high gas prices? While some auto shoppers have gone off to buy smaller, more efficient cars, other people – those who got suckered into thinking they could afford to drive an SUV – have found another way out: insurance fraud through burning their vehicle.

CNN and Edmonds.com reported this interesting story on the rise in SUV arson cases. The case involves a shady new-car dealership in Cerritos, California that helped desperate SUV owners connect with arsonists who would torch the car for $300 left in the glove compartment. The owners would then collect the insurance money and buy another car. A police sting operation stopped the crime ring using a baited SUV with a camera installed. Robert Rowe, arson investigator for the City of Downey and a member of the police task force said, "Because of the way the economy has gone, the gas prices skyrocketing the way they have, we started to see a peak (in arsons). People that had the gas-guzzlers that got eight miles per gallon, they started to get hit hard. They didn't want those cars anymore."

Read on to the original story for more on the history of auto arson when times are bad.

[Source: CNN via Metafilter]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 5 Comments
      • 5 Days Ago
      Heh you could always just pay someone to crash it for you instead of burning it. I know that people sometimes find already crappy cars, somehow manage to get them insured for full value (maybe a shady insurance inspector? who knows) and then just pay someone to go and crash the car for them. They can even rig accidents where both cars involved are actually in on the scam.
      Now you're probably wondering who in their right mind would crash cars for other people for money (seeing as how actually totaling a car requires a fairly dangerous crash) but you'd be surprised what addicts will do for money.
      • 5 Days Ago
      Its absurd to use the image of a Honda CRV, a 24mpg+ SUV as a bad mileage car. There are so many other megatruck monstrosities that could be used, from the Ford Exploder, Lincoln Extravaganza, Chevy Avalanche or the ginormous Hummer (could the road feel be Number?)
      And what "Terrorists"?? - the first poster is way off base and didn't read the article ...
      • 5 Days Ago
      "A-L-F"

      Are these "terrorists" came from outer space? I never realized that ALF was an eco-terrorist?

      LOL.

      I think if someone is going to defame an organization, at least get the name right.

      • 5 Days Ago
      Uhh, rj, I don't know what to say. You need to get your socioeconomic/demographic bearings. Why would someone who torches car dealerships that sell 8-mpg vehicles be driving an 8-mpg vehicle themselves? Doesn't compute. And I would never go around burning up car lots, but "eco-terrorists?" Give me a break. Let me guess, your second most favorite term is "feminazi."
      • 5 Days Ago
      Those arsonists were also members of A-L-F and other eco-terrorist groups who go around torching home developments and car dealerships.