Series of ambulance thefts prompts Arizona fire district to adjust policy

An Arizona fire district is creating an ambulance policy after one of its vehicles was stolen by a patient for the third time, news stations KTVK and KTVK and KPHO, a CBS affiliate, reported Jan. 30.

A woman recently became  the third person to steal a Buckeye Valley Fire District ambulance, which was left running outside Phoenix-based Banner Estrella Hospital. Alejandra Rocha was trying to check herself into the hospital but decided to go out to the ambulance bay while waiting. She reportedly climbed into a running ambulance parked there and drove it "for a while" before police found her through the vehicle's tracking system, according to the report.

The first district ambulance was stolen in 2014 by a patient escaping the hospital. The second was stolen and crashed in March by a patient who told police he wanted to go home.

The Buckeye Valley Fire District is now creating a policy to combat this issue.

"The reason we keep [ambulances] running is for urgency. We want to get the patients in the ER as fast as we can, especially the critical patients, so we're not really worried about security," Sarah Mendoza, public information officer for Buckeye Valley Fire District, said in the report. "We're going to start turning off and locking these rescues."

Ms. Mendoza said the district also is looking to have a two-person crew so one person is monitoring the ambulance at all times.

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