SPOKANE, Wash.--Spokane police were searching for a man after they said the stolen car he was driving caught on fire on Wednesday afternoon.
Neighbors said the encounter with the man was bizarre. The owner of the stolen car said he did not expect to see the car in the condition he found it.
Tony Copler said he had his 1992 Buick for six years. The car was silver before it was stolen but when it was found it had a new paint job.
A neighbor said she saw the car sputtering down an alley near Hoffman and Nevada and then stop. Cell phone video taken by a business owner across the street showed heavy smoke coming from the car. The engine compartment became engulfed in flames. One witness said she saw the driver try to get some items out.
A nearby auto repair shop owner said the man came into her business and asked for buckets of water. Veronica Ebel said the man and her husband tried to douse the flames. She said when the man heard sirens he took off.
The fire department arrived and put the fire out. She said she saw authorities remove stolen items out of the car.
Copler said his car was gone for only three days but he could not believe the condition he found it in. He said it was a good car and he bought it for $1,000.