Police investigate after finding an ambulance that was reported stolen crashed into a telephone pole along 16th Street and Tribune Court on May 4, 2023. Photo courtesy of Edgar Tolentino.

A Los Angeles man was arrested Thursday night after stealing an ambulance from the scene of a deadly fire in Long Beach and then crashing it into a telephone pole, authorities said.

Authorities say Jose Armando Lara, 31, stole a Long Beach Fire Department vehicle that was parked at the scene of a fire in the area of Long Beach Boulevard and Esther Street. The driver of the vehicle was involved in several hit-and-run collisions while behind the wheel for about half-a-mile.

Officers responded around 9:25 p.m. to the 1500 block of Locust Avenue regarding a non-injury traffic collision, and while en route, they were “notified that the vehicle in question was a Long Beach Fire Department vehicle that was stolen,” police said.

The vehicle was located by officers up the block on 16th Street and North Tribune Court, police said. It has been crashed into a telephone phone, and the driver was no longer inside, authorities said, adding nobody was injured in the collisions.

Lara, however, was soon taken into custody and identified as the driver responsible, police said. He was taken into custody by on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, driving under the influence, taking a vehicle without owner’s consent, and hit-and-run resulting in property damage, according to the Long Beach Police Department. He remains jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail, inmate records show.

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