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A 37-year-old Timaru man has been arrested and charged following the theft from Geraldine last night of an ambulance that was found abandoned more than 40km away near Cave this morning.
The ambulance was stolen from a locked garage at St John's Geraldine station some time between 6pm yesterday and early today, a St John spokesman said.
The theft was discovered by ambulance officers when they arrived at the station for work.
A St John uniform was also stolen.
St John Canterbury district operations manager Dion Rosario said the theft posed a significant risk to public safety.
``It is reprehensible that someone would steal an ambulance, limiting our ability to provide essential emergency care to the public.
``We have located another ambulance for the Geraldine crew to use so this doesn't impact patient safety.''
The spokesman said St John was assisting police with its investigation into the theft.
It is not known if the ambulance was damaged.