MESA, Ariz. (KSAZ) – A man is accused of stealing an ambulance from Banner Desert Hospital and police say he claims to have taken the vehicle because it was too hot to walk.
Mesa Police say on July 24, 37-year-old Todd Shell had just been released from the hospital for a heat-related situation.
“Shell said that he wanted to buy a sandwich, but need to go home and get some money first. He said that he intended to return the ambulance,” stated police.
Shell was booked into jail on one count of unlawful use of means of transportation and one count of unlawful flight from law enforcement. Both are class 5 felonies.
Danny Gyles with Phoenix Fire said it is not out of line for EMTs to leave the keys in the ignition, while bringing a patient into the ER.
“A lot of times, it has to do with the severity of the call, or working a serious patient in the back,” said Gyles. “You know keys may get left in the ignition.”
Gyles, however, said they try and be proactive.
“Our guys are really good about making sure they take the key out and take it with them, making sure the doors are closed,” said Gyles. “We want to prevent against anything like that.”
Police say the ambulance wasn’t damaged and returned to service.