In a daring movie-style criminal act by suspected youths over the weekend, a Katutura-based ambulance was stolen and taken for a joy-ride before being dumped at Eldorado Primary School, Namibia Marshall Rangers Sheriff Shaun Naude confirmed with this publication.
He said this was after the driver had left the key in the ignition and the suspects are reportedly still at large.
“What happened is, he was at Katutura Hospital and what happens is while they were busy taking patients out of the vehicle and stuff they leave even the vehicle idling and these guys took it for a joy-ride.”
“They ended up going to the school and left it in one of the parking bays. They bumped the right side lamp and they took the key with them. We don’t know how many they were because we don’t have any suspects yet in custody. We suspect that it’s youths,” he said.
He said they had to send out an APB to all platforms looking for the ambulance and one of the school’s staff reported to the Motor Vehicle Theft Unit that it was in their parking lot.
The theft has also revealed glaring discrepancies within the ministry of health as the ambulance did not have a tracking device and neither did it have an inside camera.
It has also exposed negligence on the part of drivers that handle government vehicles, something which the Sheriff took an issue with.
“Even when City Police is at a scene, they leave their vehicles idling. Now the thing is, it is not common for emergency vehicles to be stolen but the thing is sometimes it could be negligence in one aspect because you don’t leave the vehicle with the key in the ignition and open.”
“So we would advise that this would alert officials especially when they are responsible for highly needed vehicles like ambulances to make sure that there are spare keys available because now the inconvenience was the fact there was no spare key available and they had to tow the vehicle.”
“I would say in an instance like this that it is government property, the driver is responsible for that vehicle and therefore he must make sure that the vehicle is safe. Hopefully, it will be a lesson to officials in future to take more responsibility,” he said
Ambulances come equipped with expensive equipment inside, and there are few available in Namibia’s public health space, and thus the need for extra-care is out of the question, said the Sheriff.
Attempts to get in touch with the head of Katutura Hospital, Dr. Fady Ashmally were fruitless as both his mobile and office line went unanswered until the time of publication.