At around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, EMTs were responding to a woman having a seizure at the Department of Public Welfare office on the 1900 block of New Hope Street, in Norristown, Pa., Thomas Trojansky of Montgomery County company Plymouth Ambulance said.
They were preparing to transport her when investigators say a man swiped the $140,000 van, fully stocked with medical supplies and equipment.
As he pulled out of the parking lot, a Norristown police officer passed the ambulance.
The man nervously checked his mirrors and kept going.
In surveillance video, 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.
The suspected thief probably thought he had an edge on the ambulance company and authorities as he was monitoring the police radio, but he apparently didn't realize a camera on the windshield was rolling.
Another ambulance on the scene rushed the patient to the hospital, but the company still had the task of finding its truck.
Thirty-five 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.
Thanks to the crystal clear video, investigators say they believe they can identify him and make a quick arrest.
Norristown police are standing by waiting for tip calls.