Arizona Man Stole Ambulance to Buy Sandwich, Says It Was Too Hot to Walk

To be fair, it was very hot.
July 30, 2018, 6:46pm
Photo via Flickr user steeleman204

You know that feeling you get when it’s super hot out; that impulse—that burning desire—to steal an ambulance and buy a sandwich? Me neither. However, according to police in Mesa, Arizona, 37-year-old Todd (Tanner) Shell was arrested and jailed last week for doing just that.

Apparently, Shell had just been discharged from Banner Desert Hospital after checking in for a vague, heat-related situation when he decided that it was simply too hot to walk home. So, he did what any rational person would do—hopped into a nearby running ambulance and took off. He made it about ten miles before being overtaken by authorities, who were able to find Shell by using the GPS locator inside the stolen ambulance. Once captured, Shell explained that he was merely heading home to pick up a few bucks for a sandwich, and planned on returning the ambulance from the get-go.

Nobody was hurt during the short, speed-limit-adhering car chase, and officials say the ambulance wasn’t damaged at all. And to be fair, according to, temperatures hit a scalding high of 115 degrees Fahrenheit on the day Shell took the old ambulance out for a spin.

Is that enough of a defense for hijacking an emergency vehicle? Is there a certain temperature that, one reached, makes it okay for people to start stealing ambulances in broad daylight? The answer: No. Had it not been en route to Shell’s home to pick up sandwich cash, that ambulance could have been out transporting emergency patients and effectively saving lives—not to mention all of the more important things the police who took time out of their busy, crime-fighting-packed schedule to catch Shell could have been doing. Overall, though, the whole thing is still pretty funny. (Probably not for Shell, though, who’s facing felony charges of unlawful use of means of transportation and fleeing from law enforcement.)

So, things aren’t looking too good for our ambulance-stealing antihero. But hey—hopefully jail is air-conditioned.