How high do you have to be to steal an ambulance?

There is a guy in Houston, Texas who needed a taco- a Jack in The Box taco no less- so bad he was willing to steal an ambulance to get it.

I ask, how high do you have to be to steal an ambulance because: A-Jack In The Box tacos aren’t that great, B-there’s no upside to stealing an ambulance. They’re not fast, or fun to drive, they’re not fun to hang out in, and they’re really easy to spot when the police come looking. I don’t know if this dude was high or not, I’m making all this up, but an exciting end to a monumental bender seems like a possibility.

So here we are, the ambulance arrives on scene. The report didn’t say what the call was for but I’m going to say it was a life alert call because the ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,’ commercials are hilarious to me.  The ambulance pulls to the the curb and Renaldo Leonard, that’s him, age 36, is sitting on the porch across the street. Renaldo and two of his friends, Maxie, and Ray have been rotating between playing Xbox and smoking weed since around two o’clock in the afternoon. It’s now almost eleven at night. The guys ran out of weed around nine. They tried to call their boy Brad for a re-up but Brad was out because he’s a junior in high school and tonight was prom. Maxie’s cousin Tieg had an ounce he would sell him but he was on lockdown. Tieg sold to an undercover cop and was under house arrest after pleading to Possession with Intent to Distribute and his mom wouldn’t let him leave the house with the tracker on his ankle. She thought if he went outside they’d come and lock him up for real.

Renaldo was zoning out watching the red, spinning lights on the roof of the ambulance when Maxie slammed his phone down,

“Fuck!” he yelled.

                The expletive shook Renaldo out of his fugue, “What?” he slurred.

                “Fuckin Tieg got some but he won’t leave the house. He’s under house arrest,”

                “Don’t look at me,” Ray said, “My ride got repo’d last week,”

                “I got no ride, and I ain’t ridin a bike all the way to Whitmer,” Whitmer was the street Tieg lived on ten blocks away.

                Renaldo had slipped back into a trance watching the lights on the ambulance. He heard Ray and Maxie talking about Tieg. He knew Tieg, and he wanted some more smoke. He didn’t have a car, and his mom was at work so her car was gone too.

                Renaldo stepped off the porch and had to pause for a minute to keep his legs under him. After a moment he started toward the ambulance.

                “Where you goin?” Ray called from the stoop.

                Renaldo heard him but he was too focused on the flashing red lights. A medic ran out of the house and grabbed a bag out of the back as Renaldo crossed the street. He didn’t break stride as the medic hurried back inside with whatever was in the bag. The ambulance was idling as he jumped in the driver seat. He didn’t even look at the house where the paramedics were treating someone. Nobody was looking his way. No one but Ray and Maxie that is,

                “What the fuck are you doing?” yelled  Maxie.

                Renaldo lowered the window, “I’ll be back,” he told them, he dropped the truck into gear and stood on the gas. The ambulance was a beast and it accelerated with all the verve of a sea slug. He was moving though, and he really wanted another smoke. He headed out of the neighborhood and pulled onto the main thoroughfare. He blended with traffic but everybody on the road slowed down and pulled over as he came up behind them. It was trippy but Renaldo didn’t have to wait for anybody. He was gonna be at Tieg’s and back in only a couple of minutes. Then he saw a Jack in the Box coming up on his right. Suddenly all thoughts of more weed were gone and he was rolling up to the drive thru. Renaldo pulled to a stop at the order box and when he shifted in his seat to lean toward the microphone his elbow bumped the center console and suddenly the ambulance was screaming, it’s high pitched whine filling the air.

                “Shit,” he swore as a voice called from the ordering box,

                “Welcome to Jack In the Box, how can I help you?” a woman asked.

                “Taco,” Renaldo said to himself as he tried to focus on the menu.

                “I’m sorry I didn’t catch that, is that a siren?”

                “A taco, three tacos,” said Renaldo.

                “I’m sorry you cut out,” the girl on the other side of the order box said.

                Renaldo looked for the switch for the siren but only succeeded in finding the button that  made the thing do a, WHOOP! WHOOP!

                “Shit!” Renaldo bellowed.

                The girl on the other end of the call giggled,

                “Come on!” Renaldo was exasperated.

                “He said he wanted a taco!” Renaldo’s head snapped around to find a blinding white light in his face. Beyond the light he saw a silver badge gleaming in the lights of the drive through. The officer lowered his flashlight and Renaldo recognized a wide smile on the cop’s face. Well that and the gun pointed at him. There was another cop on the passenger side of the ambulance too. The policeman held up his free hand. He put three fingers up, “that was three tacos right?” he asked.

                The drive thru girl didn’t miss a beat, “Three J-I-B tacos, anything to drink with that?”

                The responding officers let Renaldo have the tacos, and even let him eat before taking him in (that’s what I would have done anyway), but Renaldo never made it to Tieg’s place.

NOTE: I probably wouldn’t have put myself in front of a multi-ton vehicle when approaching a felony suspect in the drivers seat of a stolen ambulance, but I thought it sounded funnier if I sacrificed tactics for art.

My blog, I can do what I want.

Author: JohnStampWriter

John Stamp is a former Special Agent who served both in the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Prior to federal law enforcement he served as a Police Officer for the City of Charleston Police Department, Charleston, SC. He is the author of five novels and the They Did What? Crime Blog.