Stolen ambulance found in McHenry County, suspect held on bond

ROCKFORD – A St. Charles man is being held on $30,000 bond in Winnebago County Jail, on charges of felony vehicle theft of an ambulance and two counts of felony aggravated assault, records show. 

In a statement, Rockford police said Paul Chandler, 51, took a Metro Ambulance valued at more than $100,000, from the emergency room parking lot at Rockford Memorial Hospital, 2400 N. Rockton Ave., Rockford, at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Police said Chandler entered the ambulance while it was parked and unattended.

As Chandler was starting to drive away, a paramedic and a nurse tried to stop him, but Chandler then drove the ambulance at them, forcing them to run out of the way or get hit, police said. 

Chandler drove out of the parking lot. Rockford police said they later received a call about an ambulance being driven recklessly, but it was not in the area once they arrived.

The ambulance later was found abandoned in McHenry County and recovered, police said. Further information led police to identify the suspect as Chandler, and that he was at a business in Belvidere. Belvidere police took Chandler into custody there without incident and took him to Rockford, police said.

Rockford Police spokesman Lt. Pat Hoey said the aggravated assault charges stem from Chandler driving the ambulance at the paramedic and nurse in the hospital parking lot.

Chandler faces between four and 15 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 on the three felony charges.