A 25-year-old Deer River man has been charged with motor vehicle theft after he allegedly stole an ambulance from the Bemidji Ambulance Service.
Jeremy Alan Jones was charged Tuesday in Beltrami County District Court with felony theft of a motor vehicle. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
He also was charged with giving a peace officer a false name or a name of another person. The maximum penalty for that charge is 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office found an ambulance just before 7:30 a.m. Feb. 21 in a ditch along the 6300 block of Lavinia Road. The ambulance had snapped off a power pole, which was lying across the front of the ambulance. Utility crews were called to the broken power line.
Missing from the ambulance, according to employees with Bemidji Ambulance Service, were a cell phone and Tom Tom GPS unit.
According to the criminal complaint, Jones approached utility workers at the scene and asked questions about the accident. Workers told law enforcement officials that he had a bump on his head and believe he may have been involved in the accident.
Utility workers called deputies, who located Jones in the 5000 block of Lavinia Road. His clothing matched the description of that given by utility workers and he had a fat lip and blood in his mouth, according to the complaint.
Jones told police he had been dropped off in the area by his brother at midnight, which deputies did not believe because it was nearly 9:30 a.m. and he was not dressed appropriately for the weather, according to the complaint.
Jones put his hands in his pockets and a deputy noticed that he had a large object of some kind in the front pocket of his sweatshirt.
The deputy asked what was in the pocket and Jones replied, "Nothing," according to the complaint. The deputy reached into the pocket and removed a Tom Tom GPS unit similar to one that was reported missing by ambulance personnel.
The deputy then noticed another object in Jones' left pants pocket and found a cell phone, which also matched the description of one missing from the ambulance, according to the complaint. When he opened the phone, the numbers of the crashed ambulance unit were on the main display screen.
Jones said he found both items by a garage, but the deputy noted that neither the cell phone nor the GPS unit was cold, according to the complaint.
When asked for his name, Jones gave the deputy a male name that was not on file, according to the complaint. Another law enforcement agent suggested that the man was probably Jones, and when asked, Jones admitted that was his real name.