Man faces charges in 2 counties for ambulance theft in Swissvale
By Jennifer Reeger
Published: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
A homeless man, who said he stole an ambulance from Swissvale to get back to his family in Chicago, was found with the vehicle early Wednesday morning at a Rostraver gas station, police said.
Jonathan David Miracle, 19, faces charges in both Westmoreland and Allegheny counties for the theft of the vehicle just before 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Eastern Area Pre-Hospital Services ambulance was stolen from the Swissvale Fire Department station along Irvine Street, according to ambulance director Stephen Shurgot.
The ambulance crew was inside the station and discovered the vehicle was missing at 9:29 p.m., when they went to answer a non-emergency call. A video camera at the station showed the ambulance was stolen at 8:50 p.m. Another ambulance was sent to respond to the call, Shurgot said.
At 2:21 a.m. Wednesday, Rostraver officer Joseph Spinola noticed the ambulance parked at a gas pump at the BFS gas station along Route 51, according to court papers.
Spinola said Miracle, who was not wearing a paramedic's uniform, was standing next to the ambulance with the driver's side door open. Nobody else was around the vehicle.
When Spinola asked Miracle where the ambulance was from, Miracle admitted he had stolen it.
Spinola confirmed that the ambulance had been reported stolen to Swissvale police.
Miracle told investigators he was trying to get back to the Chicago area, where he has family, Rostraver Police Chief Greg Resetar said.
Rostraver police charged Miracle with receiving stolen property. He is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison after failing to post $15,000 bond.
Swissvale Police Chief Greg Geppert said his department charged Miracle with theft. He is awaiting arraignment on those charges.
And he may face additional charges for a hit-and-run accident that occurred while he was driving the ambulance. Resetar said state police are investigating the accident that occurred in Westmoreland County.
State police spokesman Trooper Steve Limani could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Shurgot said no equipment or supplies were stolen from the ambulance, however, the vehicle sustained “substantial” damage to the front end and driver's side from the accident.
He said a claim would be submitted to insurance.
“It's a shame that someone would steal something as important as an ambulance,” Shurgot said. “... We're just very thankful that with this untrained person driving that nobody was hurt.”
Staff writer Matthew Santoni contributed to this report. Jennifer Reeger is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or email@example.com.
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