Ambulance Swiped for Joyride

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The call came in to police around 10:30 Wednesday night, someone had stolen an ambulance--right from outside the emergency room at Sparrow's St. Lawrence Hospital.

"You can't leave your vehicle running and unattended in the city," said Officer Robert Merritt, a spokesman for the Lansing Police Department. "It leaves yourself vulnerable for somebody to take it."

Which is exactly what happened. Mobile Medical Response or MMR is the company in charge of the vehicle. Police said convenience is just one reason the ambulance was stolen.

"This person was probably walking by, knew that they had a place to go, it's a few block away or several blocks away, and didn't feel like walking and wanted a ride," said Officer Merritt.

By phone an MMR spokeswoman said she thinks the suspect was intoxicated, saying there was evidence in the vehicle he had been drinking.

She said every ambulance has a second "all safe key." It goes into what functions like a airplane black box for an ambulance, and designates which of the two people is driving.

Since that second key was missing, the ambulance was making a very loud, obnoxious noise the entire time it was being driven. It's one reason the joy ride may have been cut short.

"What drew the [witness'] attention to this ambulance was, there was a screeching sound, like it came to an abrupt stop," said Merritt.

It was at the corner of West Michigan Avenue and Huron Street that police found the stolen ambulance. It's about eight blocks from Saint Lawrence Hospital, that's about a three minute drive.

In total the ambulance was gone for about 15-20 minutes.

No one was hurt, the ambulance wasn't damaged, and no drugs were taken.

The only thing still missing is the driver. If the suspect is caught, he could face up to five years in prison. He's described as an African America man wearing black clothing.

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