A San Francisco Fire Department ambulance was stolen out from under some EMTs on Monday evening, and multiple law enforcement agencies got involved in its pursuit until it was ultimately found abandoned on the other side of the Bay.
The theft of the ambulance happened at 6:42 p.m. Monday near the intersection of Irving Street and 47th Avenue in the Outer Sunset. As the SFFD explains in a Facebook post, paramedics had been at the location for about 25 minutes and were in the process of bringing a patient out to the ambulance when a suspect hopped in and drove off.
Using the ambulance's GPS tracker, California Highway Patrol was soon able to locate the ambulance and begin pursuing it, and the pursuit was joined by other law enforcement agencies as well. It sounds like the suspect drove the ambulance south into San Mateo County, and took the San Mateo Bridge into Alameda County, where they then headed north into Oakland.
Once the ambulance exited the freeway onto Oakland city streets, CHP and other law enforcement "discontinued their pursuit out of an abundance of caution," per the SFFD, because of the suspect's "disregard for other vehicles and pedestrians on city streets."
This meant they were soon able to locate the ambulance via GPS — it was parked, abandoned on a nearby street — but they did not arrest the suspect, and that person remains at large. The investigation remains ongoing, the SFFD says, and more information is to come about how the theft occurred.
"The patient the [ambulance] crew was attending to was luckily not harmed and was transported to a local hospital for their original emergency. The crew was also not harmed," the SFFD says. "This unprovoked act is alarming and endangered not only this patient and the crews but also countless emergencies that this crew won't be able to respond to now."
It's not clear if the ambulance sustained any damage.
As we learned from an ambulance-jacking incident last August, the SFFD's 54 ambulances cost $300,000 apiece and are posted to corners in various parts of the city in order to respond to emergencies. They are not affiliated with specific fire stations.
The SFFD has been providing paramedic services for the city since 1997.
Photo via SFFD/Twitter