Dallas Crews Alerted after Ambulance Break-In

As paramedics moved a patient on a stretcher into the hospital, the man opened a side door of the empty ambulance & took a $20,000 cardiac monitor/defibrillator


 
 

WENDY HUNDLEY & LAURA C. MOREL, The Dallas Morning News | | Monday, July 25, 2011


DALLAS, Texas -- Fire department emergency crews are being warned about a thief who may be targeting ambulance medical equipment and medicine.

A man was captured on a surveillance tape Wednesday burglarizing a Coppell ambulance parked at Lewisville Medical Center.

The white man driving a light-colored Jeep Grand Cherokee pulled beside the ambulance after paramedics moved a patient on a stretcher into the hospital.

The man opened a side door of the empty ambulance and took a $20,000 cardiac monitor/defibrillator and $10,000 to $15,000 worth of other supplies and medicines before driving away.

Officials also are looking into two other incidents involving missing medical supplies but aren't sure if they are related to the Coppell ambulance theft.

The Lewisville Fire Department discovered earlier this week that a medical kit containing heart and other medicines was missing from an ambulance.

"We can't say for sure that it was stolen," said Tim Tittle, assistant chief of operations for the Lewisville Fire Department. "We just know that it's missing."

That's the situation at the Lake Cities Fire Department, where officials discovered a missing medical kit July 11.

The kit may have been left behind when crews responded to a medical call in Corinth, Deputy Fire Chief Chad Thiessen said.

When emergency personnel discovered the kit was missing, they went back to retrieve the kit but couldn't locate it.

The kit contained fluids for intravenous therapy, needles, syringes and medicines. It was valued at more than $1,000.

Dallas, Plano, Frisco and McKinney report no missing supplies or medicines.

"Even though it hasn't touched us personally, we know if it affects us and it's nearby, it's a concern for us," Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Lt. Joel Lavender said. A memo was sent to the department about the incidents.

It's better to "be pro-active rather than reactive to the situation," Lavender said.

The incidents have left officials puzzled.

If the purpose is to obtain drugs for recreational use, the thief may be disappointed.

The missing kits don't contain any narcotic drugs, officials said.

"We don't want these people thinking that they're going to be able to use these medications as some way to get high," Thiessen said.

The medicines being stolen are intended to help people, said Division Chief Steve Carter of the Lewisville Fire Department.

The equipment doesn't have any street value, at least in the United States, Lewisville Assistant Police Chief Todd Taylor said.

"Most people who would buy this equipment here would go through a reputable vendor," Taylor said. "It may have value to someone who can export it and sell it."



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