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A Drone-Delivered Vape Pen Got a Man to Surrender after a 6-Hour Standoff

He was allegedly trying to set a gas station on fire

by Rex Santus
15 January 2019, 12:46am

Vape pens are sometimes used to stop smoking, but police in California just used one to prevent a fire. When a would-be arsonist asked for a cigarette after a long standoff this past weekend, cops sent him a vape pen — by drone.

After fleeing a in Novato, Calif., gas station that he’d allegedly tried to burn, the suspect agreed to turn himself in if cops would deliver him cigarettes first. Police worried that he had gasoline on his clothes, so they instead delivered him a vape pen via robot. He surrendered without further incident and now faces charges of attempted arson and vandalism.

The suspect, 40-year-old Juan Roman, allegedly splashed gasoline on the floor of the gas station around 7 a.m. Saturday. He proceeded to light a piece of paper on fire and drop it on a gas-soaked floor mat, according to video surveillance of the incident. The mat didn’t catch fire, and Roman fled in his car to a nearby gas station, where police cornered him.

Police evacuated the area after spotting weapons in Roman’s pickup trucks, and they used a robot to deliver him a phone to use for communication with law enforcement officers. A standoff with the suspect lasted for six hours until he agreed to surrender if he could just smoke first.

“If we can do something that won’t make the situation more difficult, either deliver food, or water, or cigarettes, if that helps end the situation peacefully, we make that happen,” Lt. Sasha D’Amico of the Novato Police Department said to KPIX.

Cover: (Sipa via AP Images)

This article originally appeared on VICE US.