Norway sentences ambulance carjacker to preventive detention

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A man who stole an ambulance in the Norwegian capital of Oslo in 2019 and drove it along a sidewalk, injuring two toddlers, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Thursday.

The Oslo District Court said the 33-year-old man, who wasn’t identified, was found guilty of seven counts of attempted murder. The court ordered the man, nicknamed “the ambulance hijacker” by Norwegian media, held for at least eight years before being considered for release. But authorities could decide to keep him in prison for an additional four years.

The man, in addition to injuring the toddlers, made an elderly couple dive under a parked car as police tried to stop the ambulance by shooting at its tires before finally ramming it to a stop.

The man pleaded guilty to possession of drugs, threats with a firearm and possession of a weapon in a public place. He rejected accusation of attempted murder and threats against the police.

The man told the court that the motive behind the driving was that he needed to transport 50 liters (around 13 gallons) of liquid narcotics in order to cancel a 50,000 kroner ($6,0000) drug debt, the VG newspaper said. He also told court he had no intention of killing anyone.

On Oct. 22, 2019, he stole the yellow-and-blue ambulance after authorities responded to a crash at an Oslo traffic circle in which a car had turned over. The man left the scene on foot and pointed a weapon at police officers before stealing the ambulance.

A 25-year-old woman, who was a passenger in the overturned car that the man drove, was later arrested. Both were known to the police.

The ambulance sped through Oslo, followed by police cars, and drove on a sidewalk where it ran into a stroller carrying two 7-month-old twins, though they weren’t seriously injured, and an elderly couple dodged the vehicle by diving under a parked car. Police shot at the tires to stop the ambulance and didn’t target the man. It eventually stopped after being rammed by police.

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