‘Instant Karma’: Failed Arsonist Catches Himself on Fire Seconds As Attempt to Burn Down Ex-Girlfriend’s House Goes Awry, Video Shows

An Albuquerque man allegedly torched his ex-girlfriend’s house but was literally tripped up by his own mistakes — and the failed attempt was caught on the neighbor’s security camera. Arson lesson 101: Don’t catch yourself on fire.

“I kinda had to laugh at the amateur-hour situation there. If you’re gonna commit arson, try to do it without setting yourself on fire in the process. He got what he deserved,” said neighbor Daniel Provine, whose cameras captured the entire crime from beginning to end.

Police identified the alleged culprit as Artemio Sanchez-Ortega, 46, through a white pickup truck parked down the street from the scene, reported KOAT 7. The neighbor’s security footage from mid-May shows the suspect approaching the house with a large red gas can before hopping a gate and dousing several cars in the driveway.

Man Sets Ex-Girlfriend's House on Fire
Artemio Sanchez-Ortega was captured on camera attempting to set a house on fire. (Photo: YouTube screenshot/KOAT)

Moments later, flames exploded through the front driveway while the inept arsonist was still trapped behind the gate. He emerged again on video engulfed in flames as he hopped the gate to escape. As he was fleeing the scene, the suspect tripped over his own feet and fell, then quickly got up and stumbled down the street while still smoldering.

Ortega’s ex-girlfriend and her four children, who were inside the home at the time of the fire, were not hurt. When Albuquerque Fire Rescue arrived at the scene, two vehicles were on fire, and flames were spreading to a third vehicle as well as to the home.

Ultimately, her house was saved, but all three vehicles in the driveway were destroyed. In New Mexico and nearly every state, arson, when the damage is over $20,000, is a second-degree felony.

The victim, whom police have not named, recorded her own video as she watched from inside in complete shock, she told local news outlets, adding that she didn’t know why Ortega did this. According to the criminal complaint via KOAT 7, she informed investigators that Ortega had called her three times before the incident. She also stated that he called earlier on Friday evening and “could tell he was drinking.”

The 46-year-old suspect is still on the run. 

“The instant karma of the situation was weirdly satisfying,” Provine remarked to local news outlets. “But to see that he managed to get back to his truck and drive off and make an escape before anyone really noticed was unfortunate.”

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