She might have been aspiring to be a paramedic, or maybe she just took the video game Grand Theft Auto way too seriously, but things didn’t end too well for 41-year-old Terri Efaw when she broke into a fire station in McMinn County, Tennessee and stole an ambulance.
Not only did she not get away with her bone-headed crime, but she caused quite a bit of damage on her way out of the volunteer fire station.
“The ambulance crew heard a vehicle start up,” Englewood Fire Chief Billy Roach, told Englewood ABC affiliate WTVC. “They heard the racket, came outside and she was driving straight through the bay doors.”
The theft left firefighters with quite the mess from the ambulance smashing through the bay doors – one is now being covered with plywood until it can be fixed. Although the fire station does have a security system, storms that recently moved through the area knocked out the power, so authorities were unaware Efaw broke in until they heard her.
“This week we had storms and the power went off,” Roach said. “We have electronic codes on them and once the power’s out, if the battery back up doesn’t kick in, it unlocks the door.”
Efaw made it only a few miles before police officers stopped her. She was arrested for theft, vandalism and criminal trespassing, and is currently in McMinn County jail on an $11,000 bond. Total damage to the bay doors and ambulance is estimated at nearly $8,000.
“The one thing about Englewood – we’re a small town but we battle back and we’ve got good people here,” George Carroll, who lives across the street from the fire station, told McMinn County NBC affiliate WRCB.
Efaw actually had a pretty good reason for wanting to get into an ambulance – she just should have called one. When police asked her why she stole the vehicle, she said because she was pregnant and needed to get to the hospital fast. Surely there was a better way for Efaw to find a ride.
Law enforcement, firefighters and other similar personnel are encouraged to take extra precautions when securing gear and vehicles. Whether it’s adding a reinforced lock to an ambulance, mounting a lockbox inside to keep valuables safe or adding a mini safe to keep gear secure in a station, there are helpful products on the market.