Texas Man Steals Ambulance, Drives to Jack in the Box to Order Food—Police

A man stole an ambulance and drove to the fast food restaurant Jack in the Box in Houston, Texas, police say.

Police officers arrested the man at the Ludington Drive branch of the restaurant chain on Thursday.

The Houston Police Department said the man stole the ambulance while Houston Fire Department responders were on a call at an apartment building nearby.

According to police, the man got into the ambulance and drove off while the responders were busy.

A tweet posted by the Houston Police Department read: "Southwest patrol and CST officers just recovered a stolen ambulance S. Post Oak and W. Orem. Paramedics were on a call when male jumped in and drove off.

"Officers tracked the ambulance to a fast food outlet where the driver was at the drive up ordering food with emergency lights."

The police said the suspect was taken into custody without incident and the incident is under investigation.

Jack in the Box
Police officers caught the man at the restaurant located on Ludington Drive in Houston, Texas. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

In 2019, a man stole an ambulance from outside a Texas hospital and told officers he did so because he needed to get food and cigarettes.

The suspect, who was not named but described as being in his sixties, took the vehicle from the Cypress Creek Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Houston, KHOU reported. He was found by Harris County Sheriff's Office deputies at a gas station.

Officials said the ambulance had been left with its engine running outside the hospital, where the man is believed to have once been a patient.

When deputies asked him why he had stolen the vehicle the suspect claimed he "needed a ride." Inside, officers found the man had obtained fried chicken from KFC and cigarettes.

In the same year, a 29-year-old woman was arrested in Florida for allegedly stealing an ambulance before crashing into a police car after a short pursuit.

Nate Spera, the St. Lucie County Fire Chief, said the incident occurred as paramedics were responding to a Fort Pierce apartment building. The suspect, Amber Lynn Sills, allegedly took advantage of the ambulance's running engine and jumped into the vehicle.

Police arrested her roughly two miles away from the scene. Spera told CBS12 reporter Denise Sawyer that the patient's transport had been delayed by just under 10 minutes but the person remained stable after reaching hospital.

"From what I understand, the patrol car pulled out in front of the ambulance when they caught up with her. She stopped, and then proceeded to ram the patrol car," the fire chief added, noting ambulance's are often left unlocked with engines running to ensure staff can respond quickly.