A Melbourne car thief has made a lucky escape after the car he was trying to set alight with a cigarette exploded into flames while he was leaning inside the car.
Stunning CCTV footage released on Wednesday captured two men dramatically running from the scene after the blast lit up a quiet suburban street in Brunswick East on August 4.
Police said the 2016 Toyota 86 model car was stolen from Lalor between 10am and 8.45pm the same day.
Sergeant Julie-Anne Newman said the white sedan was then driven to Little Miller St, which is a dead end road that opens up to Balfe Park, and set alight.
Sgt Newman said the offender in the stolen car was joined by another man at the scene, who travelled independently to the location, before they both set the car on fire about 9.10pm.
The CCTV shows one of the men get out of the stolen car smoking a cigarette before leaning back inside and appearing to pour accelerant into the vehicle.
He then throws the lit cigarette inside the car but it doesn’t catch fire immediately.
He then walks around to the passenger side of the vehicle where he is joined by the second offender.
He tries again to set the car on fire which some kind of lighter and while he is leaning inside the front passenger door the vehicle explodes.
The footage, which is taken from directly above the incident, shows the two men scrambling to get away before they catch fire themselves.
Sgt Newman said police believed one of the men may have been injured at the time of lighting the fire.
She said the pair ran off through the park and it was believed they left the scene in another vehicle.
The driver of the stolen car has been described as having a thin to medium build, aged possibly early to mid-20s, with short dark hair and a short beard.
He was wearing a cap, down jacket which was possibly blue in colour, skinny leg tracksuit pants and sneakers.
The second man has been described as having a medium build, aged in his mid-20s and was wearing a waterproof style jacked, a cap, long pants, sneakers and had the hood of the jacket up over his head.
Moreland Crime Investigation Unit detectives have released CCTV of the incident as they try to identify the men involved.
Anyone with information has been urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.