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Do you have a V6 or V8 engine? Did you notice if the red theft warning light was blinking fast?
Ok we may have a problem with the idle air control valve causing this. Next time the problem occurs try holding your foot on the gas to see if the engine will start and run. If so then the IAC is most likely bad. Another possibility is the fuel pump or crank sensor. I know you stated you smell fuel but to be sure we would need to check fuel pressure to the injector rail and and try spraying some carb cleaner into the air in take while an assistant cranks the engine to see if it will start and run on the spray. If we can do this we should be able to pinpoint the most likely causes.
The IAC is located on the front of the engine.