Thieves target North Texas ambulances

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on July 21, 2011 at 7:06 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 23 at 1:32 AM

LEWISVILLE - Criminals are now preying on paramedics. News 8 has learned thieves have been breaking into ambulances right outside the doors of North Texas emergency rooms.

Seconds matter for paramedics. They have to act quickly to save lives, which is hard to do if someone has stolen critical equipment or medications from their ambulance.

“If you call us about your child, you call us about your grandmothers, we want to be prepared, and it does us absolutely no good for us to turn around and something to be missing," said Lewisville Fire Chief Richard Lasky.

Someone is walking right up to emergency rooms where ambulances are parked and taking what they can.

"One person jumps out and goes into the back of the medic and removes items from the back of the ambulance," said Capt Kevin Deaver. "Generally, it takes less than 30 seconds."

The Coppell Fire Department lost a defibrillator that cost $35,000. The Lewisville Fire Department had a bag full of medicines stolen and now at least five fire departments are reporting ambulance break-ins in the last few days,

"What we are hoping is someone will see something," Lasky said. "The Homeland Security deal, if you see something, say something."

Investigators say whoever the criminals are, they are casing the hospitals.

"It’s obvious they are sitting up on the hospital probably and waiting for the ambulance to pull up and go inside and then hit the ambulance," Deaver said.

Investigators believe the burglars are trying to sell the stolen items on the black market. Warnings have been sent to area fire departments telling paramedics to use caution and be on the look-out.

They say the burglars in the Lewisville and Coppell cases are driving a light colored or silver Jeep Cherokee. In the next day or so, the Lewisville Police Department hopes to release video of the suspects.

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