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Mich. Man Charged for Ambulance Theft, Police Chase

The Flint Journal, Mich.

Apr. 16—A suspect faces multiple felony charges in connection with an ambulance stolen Monday night that led to a police chase and crash in downtown Flint.

Officers with the Flint Police Department were alerted and responded shortly after 11 p.m. April 15 for an Elite EMS ambulance driving recklessly in the Evergreen Regency apartment complex off Lippincott Road.

Police learned the ambulance had been stolen and attempted to stop the vehicle by activating their overhead emergency lights and sirens, but the suspect fled, which triggered a pursuit.

Laszlo Kappel, chief operating officer for Elite EMS, confirmed the ambulance was taken from an ambulance "base" located at Corunna Road and Bradley Avenue.

"The vehicle was unoccupied at the time," said Kappel. "The personnel were in the base."
It's unknown how the suspect was able to get inside the vehicle, Kappel said.

The ambulance eventually crashed into a building at Fifth and Saginaw streets where the suspect was taken into custody.

No Elite EMS staff members were involved or injured.

The suspect, whose name and age have not been released, complained of neck pain once at the jail and was transported to Hurley Medical Center for treatment, police said.

"This is a first for us," Kappel said of the theft.

The company has been in service for three years in the area.

It's normal protocol for the ambulances to be on and locked while at base to allow for the GPS tracker to remain active and keep medication inside at a steady temperature, Kappel said.

"We will talk to our peers in the industry and see...if there's any additional security steps that we can take," Kappel said.

Elite EMS has six ambulances in its fleet, including the one stolen vehicle, Kappel said. Damage to the ambulance involved in the chase and crash will make this ambulance a total loss.

Kappel offered his thanks to Flint police and other agencies involved in the pursuit "for their speedy recovery" of the ambulance.

"They did an exceptional job," he said. "We're very happy with that."

Anyone with information about the incident has been asked to contact Flint Police Sgt. Cholyonda Brown at (810) 237-6899.

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