Fake San Bruno Fire Victim Goes to Court

By Chris Roberts
|  Saturday, May 28, 2011  |  Updated 8:20 AM PDT
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Noxious Fire Spews Flames in Tenderloin

NBC Bay Areas

A San Francisco man lied to get a better view of the action.

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The grisly images on TV just weren't enough for one San Francisco gawker.

David O'Brien was arraigned Friday on charges that he passed himself off as a San Bruno fire victim in order to get a close-up view of the destruction.

O'Brien is accused of lying to DMV officials on Sept. 13, 2010, four days after the PG&E natural gas pipeline explosion, according to the San Mateo County Times. He claimed to live in the neighborhood where eight people died and dozens of homes were destroyed. After giving a false address, workers issued him a temporary ID card.

"He didn't want to just watch it on TV," claimed District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. "This is a guy who wanted to get in and gawk."

The jig was up months later when a permanent ID card arrived at the address he gave months later. The house's actual residents, who had moved back in, were suspicious and contacted police.

It's unclear if O'Brien ever passed police checkpoints to survey the destruction closeup.

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