MARYLAND

Montgomery County police still searching for stolen ambulance suspect

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SILVER SPRING, Md. (WJLA) Montgomery County police are still trying to figure out who got behind the wheel of a county ambulance last week and drove off.

Ambulance 742 Foxtrot was checking on a patient in their home while responding to an emergency call late Friday. When the EMS crew returned, the ambulance, which was parked at the corner of Grandview and Blueridge Avenue, was missing.

Crews left the the ambulance running with emergency warning equipment, which is common on most calls, but it's still unclear if the ambulance was locked.

Police found the ambulance minutes later about three blocks away.

"You would think a fire truck or an ambulance would be immune... but it doesn't surprise me," said Wheaton resident Omar Halwani.

A spokesperson with Montgomery County Fire and EMS said due to radios and equipment in the ambulance and incident priorities, engines are usually left running. However, crews still need to have situational awareness and always secure the doors.

In a memo sent to personnel, the fire chief echoed this sentiment, urging crews to "be consistently aware of the security of our equipment and vehicles and, when possible, ensure that we do not leave apparatus unattended."

The department is currently reviewing its security protocol and practices, but the process began before last Friday's incident.

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