Accused burglar cuts fumigation tent containing deadly gas

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – St. Petersburg police say a man used a folding knife to cut into a fumigation tent to steal welding gear. Travis Thomas is charged in the case.

Deborah McMillan’s son had stored the gear in the tent. McMillan showed News Channel 8 where the would-be thief tried to get into her home.

Travis Thomas
Travis Thomas

“It’s poison. It’s there to kill things. Every living thing in that house will die. And if you go in, you’re gonna die too,” McMillan said. “And the good thing is, they put tear gas with it, so if you go in, you can’t stay long.”

On any other day, McMillan’s dogs would have likely kept a burglar away. Still, on this particular day, there were warning signs.

An eagle-eyed neighbor spotted Thomas and called the cops, just three hours after fumigators turned on the gas.

Thomas has a long history of arrests, dating back to 2005. He’s been arrested for burglary, dealing in stolen property and DUI. He also served a stint in state prison.

“He knows my son. He welds,” McMillan said.

She also told News Channel 8 she found something curious about her hose. ”It wasn’t cut when I left the house. I had it all wrapped up. And I believe he cut that to try to breathe,” she said.

With gas spewing from her home, her biggest concern was her menagerie of birds. But a crew from pest control quickly sealed the leak.


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