MELROSE — Police Chief Michael Lyle reports that the Melrose Police Department has charged a man in connection with this morning’s theft of an Armstrong Ambulance transportation van from a hospital.

NICHOLAS BURKE, AGE 23, OF PEABODY faces a number of charges including:

  • Larceny of a Motor Vehicle

At between 6:30 and 6:40 a.m., Melrose Police responded after an unoccupied Armstrong Ambulance 2016 Ford Transit Van was reported missing from outside the emergency department of MelroseWakefield Hospital.

Through a subsequent investigation, police determined that BURKE had been exiting the hospital building at the approximate time that the van was stolen. A review of hospital surveillance footage showed a man, identified as BURKE, close the rear doors of the van before entering the vehicle and driving south on Rowe Street. Melrose Police also learned that BURKE dropped a bag containing a white powdery substance believed to be narcotics on the hospital floor as he was exiting the building.

Shortly before 1 p.m., a motorist called the Massachusetts State Police indicating they spotted the stolen van on Rt. 1 in Peabody. A state trooper located the van and attempted to affect a traffic stop. The driver refused to stop, and a pursuit ensued on Rt. 1 to Rt. 129, where the van entered the Goodwin Circle rotary, exiting eastbound toward Lynn where it struck a parked Ford Explorer near Regina Road in Lynn. The two men inside the vehicle, including BURKE, were arrested.

The two suspects are scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Peabody District Court for charges related to the pursuit. They also face summons to Lynn District Court for charges related to a shoplifting incident that occurred earlier in the day in that city. Later Friday, BURKE may be transferred by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office to Malden District Court for arraignment on the Melrose charges related to the auto theft and drug possession.

These are allegations. All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.


John Guilfoil is the Principal Owner of JGPR. Tweet @johnguilfoil or email him.

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