JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department ambulances have been stolen since Saturday, but both have been recovered.
Fire officials said Rescue 54 was stolen from Baptist Medical Center South at 14550 Old St Augustine Road sometime between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Wednesday.
One man was arrested in that theft. Ezickel Ford, 54, of Jacksonville had been brought to the hospital by Rescue 62. Officials said he left the hospital and drove off in 54, but was stopped by officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office quickly and arrested.
"The rescue door was open, and it was running, and I just wanted to go home," Ford said, according to the arresting officer.
Ford (pictured) was charged with grand theft.
The other theft was early Saturday. Rescue 5 was stolen from St. Vincent's Medical Center in Riverside but was found abandoned a short time later. No suspects have been found in that theft.
"My understanding is the only thing that had been done to the vehicle was the radio station had been changed, and the music was blaring," said Tom Francis, spokesman for JFRD.
Firefighters are perplexed as to why, suddenly, people are taking their rescue units for apparent joy rides.
"For over 40 years, we never had anything like this happen," Francis said. "Now what we have is two in the span of less than seven days."
JFRD officials said now they're working on changing their protocol and developing ways to keep any more vehicles from being stolen. They're looking at options which might include locking the vehicle and keeping a spare key on them.
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