Tampa, Florida - Each day, dispatchers at TransCare receive about 100 calls for service and their EMTs head out in ambulances to treat all sorts of emergencies.
However, Thursday night, when a crew arrived at a house on Genesee Street and started treating a patient in the yard, something happened that never has happened before.
"[The crew] heard the engine rev up and they turned around, looked at each other and said, 'Well, you're here, so there goes our ambulance,'" described Terence Ramotar of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, which runs the ambulance service.
Lights still flashing, the ambulance headed down the street. But thanks to a GPS tracking system, back at dispatch they were able to watch the vehicle's every move and relay that information to police.
And so this ambulance ambush was very short-lived; in just three minutes, police were able to stop the rig and arrest Hubert Credit. He'd made it less than a mile.
Credit told police he'd been beaten up by four guys and that he was going to drive himself to the hospital. But stealing an ambulance isn't the best way to go about that, because Credit's final destination was jail. After being treated for a head injury at Tampa General, Credit is behind bars and charged with Grand Theft Auto.
As for the original patient, another rescue crew was there in just a few minutes and the ambulance, valued at $75,000, needed no treatment.
"When we reviewed the call, we're just very thankful that the ambulance was not damaged, our crew was safe, and the patient was safe," said Ramotar.
Ramotar says the crew left the ambulance running because it was a cool night and they wanted to keep it warm for the patient and says that is not an uncommon procedure.