Cops: Barrington woman used flamethrower to torch luxury SUV
A Barrington woman used a flamethrower to torch her luxury sport utility vehicle and falsely reported it stolen to Schaumburg police, authorities said Wednesday.
Julie Gagne, 47, of the 500 block of South Summit Street, was charged with arson and with disorderly conduct. Police said she retracted the report that her 2016 Infiniti QX70 was stolen.
Barrington police said that about 10:30 p.m. Nov. 10 Gagne set her SUV ablaze on the 1500 block of South Grove Avenue near Dundee Road. The SUV 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 flamethrower in question uses a mix of about 3 gallons of fuel and napalm to throw flames as far as 50 feet.
Barrington Police Chief David Dorn said the flamethrower, which is legal in Illinois, was left near the SUV on Grove Avenue and eventually connected to Gagne. She bought the device online, he said.
Schaumburg Deputy Police Chief Dan Roach said Gagne was in the village when she reported the theft of her SUV.
"She was at a restaurant and she called to say her car was missing when she came out of the restaurant," Roach said.
Gagne turned herself in to Schaumburg police while accompanied by an attorney Tuesday, Roach said. Dorn said a motive for the arson is not yet known and that the flamethrower is in Barrington police custody.
XMatter lists a starting price of about $1,600 for the X15 model personal flamethrower, which comes in colors including forest green, blizzard white and midnight black. XMatter says controlled burns for agricultural purposes, weed incineration and pyrotechnic events are among the typical uses for the company's flamethrowers.
Quinn Whitehead, an XMatter co-founder, did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday.