Police: Ambulance thief caught after roof standoff

NORRISTOWN, Pa. - July 25, 2012

The suspect has been identified as 39-year-old Carlos Bouie of 300 East Penn Street, Norristown.

Police say Action News viewers identified Bouie and called police after seeing the the report on the stolen ambulance, which included a clear shot of the suspect's face.

Police went to his home on Wednesday night, but there was no answer.   Officers went back at 6:30 a.m. Thursday but Bouie allegedly spotted them and climbed on the roof of his neighbor's home. 

He stayed up there for six hours.  A photo submitted to Action News from norristown.patch.com showed Bouie standing on the roof with his hands in the air.

Eventually, police say, he became tired and hungry and came down from the roof after his sister brought him some food.

Police took Bouie to an emergency mental health facility to be evaluated.  They believe he has mental and possibly drug problems.  They are still deciding on what charges to file.

The incident began around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday as EMTs were responding to a woman having a seizure at the Department of Public Welfare office on the 1900 block of New Hope Street, according to Thomas Trojansky of Plymouth Ambulance.

Medics were preparing to the woman when, investigators say, a man swiped the $140,000 ambulance, fully stocked with medical supplies and equipment.

In exclusive surveillance video obtained by Action News, two camera angles show the man speeding through traffic, passing vehicles, and running red lights.

"The [suspect] who took the ambulance was driving with the lights activated driving through traffic, through red lights, risking a potential accident," Trojansky said.

Another ambulance on the scene rushed the patient to the hospital, but the company still had the task of finding the missing vehicle.

The suspected thief probably thought he had an edge on the ambulance company, and authorities, since he was monitoring the police radio, but he apparently didn't realize a camera on the windshield was rolling.

35 minutes later, police found the vehicle about a mile away in the parking lot of the Curran Terrace Garden apartments, but there was no sign of the suspected ambulance bandit.

"It could have been catastrophic. These vehicles are so heavy; he could have totaled anything with one of these trucks," EMT Brendan Cameron of Plymouth Ambulance said.

Plymouth Ambulance says it appears the man drove around quite a bit before he ditched the van down the road.

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