Julie Gagne, 47, is accused of using a flamethrower to torch her SUV in November and then falsely reporting it stolen to Schaumburg police.
A Barrington woman accused of using a flamethrower to torch her SUV in November told police she bought the device as a gift for her father and was assembling it when it accidentally went off, according to police documents obtained by the Daily Herald.
Barrington police said Gagne used the flamethrower to set her SUV ablaze about 10:30 p.m. Nov. 10 in an office center parking lot on the 1500 block of South Grove Avenue, near Dundee Road. The Infiniti SUV, which has a sticker price of about $48,000, was registered in her name, police said.
An investigation found Gagne used an X15 Flamethrower manufactured by Ohio-based XMatter to torch the SUV, according to police. They said the $1,600 device — purchased online and legal to own in Illinois — uses a mix of about 3 gallons of fuel and napalm to throw flames as far as 50 feet.
Gagne told investigators she drove into the lot across the street from Barrington’s post office because she wanted to assemble the flamethrower and have it ready to present to her father the next day, according to police reports. She reportedly told police “a freak accident” occurred when the device set her SUV on fire.
“When I asked why she thought her (70-year-old) father would want a flamethrower, she stated, ‘I thought he would get a kick out of it,'” Barrington police Detective Lori Allsteadt wrote in a report.