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Ohio FF-paramedic overpowers man stealing rig from hospital

Brian Paladino with the Willoughby Hills Fire Department jumped into the ambulance’s open passenger window to prevent the thief from fleeing


Photo/Willoughby Hills Fire Department

By Cliff Pinckard

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — A man’s attempt to steal an ambulance Sunday morning at a hospital in Lake County was thwarted when a Willoughby Hills paramedic jumped through the window and overpowered the suspect, forcing him to stop, authorities say.

Firefighter/paramedic Brian Paladino did suffer minor injuries to his ankle and arm when he stopped the theft, causing the ambulance to crash into the side of a helicopter landing pad at University Hospitals Lake West Medical Center, according to a news release from the Willoughby Hills Fire Department.

The attempted theft occurred at about 10:30 a.m. at the emergency ambulance entrance at the hospital. Paramedics went to the hospital to exchange a used drug box, the news release says.

As the paramedics were leaving, they spotted the male suspect getting into the passenger side of the ambulance. The suspect slid to the driver’s side and started to drive way, authorities say.

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Paladino jumped through the open window on the driver’s side was able to wrestle the steering wheel from the suspect’s hands, authorities say. The ambulance jumped a curb and crashed into the helicopter landing pad. The ambulance had “moderate” damage from the crash.

Hospital staff helped subdue the suspect until police arrived, the news release says. The suspect had no reported injuries.

“Anytime someone makes the extremely poor decision to steal a public safety vehicle is putting themselves and everyone around them at risk,” Fire Chief Robert Gandee said in a statement. “Thankfully the quick heroic actions of (Paladino) averted a potentially more disastrous scenario.”

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