A homeless man helped police apprehend a man who had allegedly stolen a firetruck and taken it on a medium-speed chase through Southern California.
Orange County Fire Authority Captain Greg Barta told the media that the man had stolen fire engine 85 after firefighters had transported a patient to the UC-Irvine Medical Center at about 1:40 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
“As they were dropping off a patient at the hospital the truck was stolen,” Barta said, according to KTTV-TV.
The man drove the firetruck through many communities in Orange County, including the cities of Irvine and Fountain Valley. Police said no one was hurt, and he never drove at speeds above 40 miles per hour.
About an hour and a half later, police say a homeless man stopped the firetruck from moving by standing in front of it while they were ordering the driver to surrender.
The firetruck thief tried to maneuver around the man, who was later identified as Richard Lynn, but he was unable to do so. Witnesses said Lynn kept the firetruck there for about 20 minutes while he spoke to the man driving it.
Eventually, Lynn persuaded the man to surrender peacefully to the police.
“It was just crazy how the homeless guy walked up in front of the firetruck and started talking to him through the windshield,” said witness Mitch Fecler to KTTV.
“They just kept telling him, ‘please get out of the truck, we don’t want to hurt you,’ and finally the guy opened the door and surrendered peacefully,” he added.
The suspect was arrested by Anaheim Police and booked into Orange County Central men’s jail.
There was minor damage done to the firetruck.
Here’s a local news report about the bizarre incident: