Miami-Dade County

Suspect in Miami gas station explosion had previous arrests

Miami police identified the man suspected of causing a fiery explosion at a gas station on Friday as a 46-year-old Miami man who had been previously arrested for trying to steal large amounts of gasoline.

Onelio Castro was arrested Friday after Miami police investigated a minivan that exploded at a Marathon gas station, West Flagler Street and 71st Avenue.

Lt. Ignatius Carroll, a spokesman for Miami Fire Rescue, told CBS4 on Friday that a 150-gallon tank and a pump used to siphon gas was found inside the minivan.

On Saturday, Castro was released from jail after posting bond, according to Miami-Dade court records, which show he faces several felony charges, including first-degree grand theft and second-degree arson. His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 15.

Miami police on Saturday did not release any additional information about Castro’s arrest.

Court records show Castro has been previously arrested on a felony charge in 2010 for possession of an illegal gasoline storage tank and a misdemeanor loitering charge in 2009. Records show he was convicted in the 2010 case. Castro's previous arrests were reported by the Random Pixels blog.

In September 2012, police in Boca Raton suspected Castro of trying to steal gas from a Chevron station. The Sun Sentinel at the time reported that local fire rescue workers found a Dodge Caravan — driven by Castro — that had a 500-gallon plastic tank and 55-gallon drum loaded with fuel, along with a battery-powered pump, rubber hoses and and open hole in the floorboard between the driver and passenger seats. Castro had abandoned the car and fled on foot from the scene.

Police, who found a cellphone left in the vehicle and linked it to Castro, issued an arrest warrant charging him with grand theft and unlawful conveyance of fuel/obtaining fuel fraudulently. It’s unclear the disposition of the 2012 charges in Palm Beach County.

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