According to the Los Angeles Police Department, officers and Los Angeles City Fire officials received a call about a van on fire at around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday in the 4400 block of Avalon Boulevard.
When firefighters put the fire out, they discovered the body of a man in the driver's seat.
Investigators say it appeared that the man was trying to steal gas from a nearby 76 gas station. At some point, a fire was sparked inside the car, eventually engulfing the vehicle in flames.
Hervia Robertson says he was working security at the gas station when the fire broke out.
"I was thinking 'I hope this gas station don't blow up'", said Robertson. "I saw the van pull and come through the line - when he got gas and drove away, the next thing I knew it was on fire."
Ivan Jackson says the man who died is his brother-in-law, Richard Glover, 56, of South Los Angeles. He says Glover's family warned him to stop stealing gas.
"His funds are low, whatever I don't know why he started doing it, but the family has been asking him to stop, stop, stop, stop doing it," said Jackson. "I got the news from my sister this morning, so I had to come see for myself, I couldn't believe it, I couldn't believe it. I feel sorry for him, my poor little sister, all by herself, they've got three kids."
The investigation into what caused the fire continues, but Jackson believes his brother-in-law may have been smoking at the time the fire broke out.
Glover leaves behind a wife and three children.