At 12:50 p.m. today a motorist called State Police-Danvers to report that she observed a wheelchair van owned by Armstrong Ambulance, which had been stolen from Melrose-Wakefield Hospital this morning, being operated on Route 1 southbound in Peabody. A short time later, Trooper Martin Cooke, assigned to State Police-Danvers, located the ambulance on Lake Street and followed it as it turned onto Route 1 southbound. Trooper Cooke activated his cruiser’s emergency lights and attempted to stop the ambulance, but the driver refused to stop. A pursuit was authorized with Troop A Headquarters assuming command and control. The Trooper pursued the stolen ambulance south on Route 1 to Route 129, where it entered the Goodwin Circle rotary and continued east on Route 129 toward Lynn. The ambulance was attempting to pass traffic as it’s operator continued to try to evade capture. The ambulance by that point had a flat rear tire and struck an unoccupied Ford Explorer parked at the intersection of Route 129 and Regina Road in Lynn, causing the ambulance to come to a stop. Pursuing MSP Troopers placed the driver and passenger, both males, under arrest, and transported them to State Police-Danvers for booking.
During the subsequent investigation State Police determined that at approximately 9:20 a.m., nearly three hours after one of the men stole the ambulance shortly after 6:30 a.m., both men shoplifted several hundred dollars worth of men’s clothing from Kohl’s department store in Saugus. The merchandise was recovered in the ambulance by Troopers.
The suspects are identified and charged, in relation to the shoplifting and the pursuit as follows.
- DANIEL WALSH, 22, of Melrose, the driver of the ambulance during the pursuit, charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle, failure to stop for police, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating with a suspended license, committing a marked lanes violation, larceny, and shoplifting.
- NICHOLAS BURKE, 23, of Peabody, the passenger, charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle, larceny, and shoplifting.
Melrose Police will seek charges related to the actual theft of the ambulance.
WALSH and BURKE are expected to be arraigned tomorrow at Peabody District Court on the pursuit-related charges. Subsequent to that, they will be summonsed to Lynn District Court for the shoplifting charges. At this time bail has not yet been set for WALSH and BURKE and both remain in custody at State Police-Danvers.
For photos of the ambulance after it crashed and the merchandise stolen from Kohl’s, please see the State Police Twitter feed.