Paramedics stopped for a bite to eat, then returned to where they had parked the vehicle, but it was gone.
American Ambulance called Fresno police around 6:30 on Tuesday evening to report the theft from the area of Highway 168 and McKinley.
Authorities in air support helped officers track down the ambulance just minutes later and they began to chase after the suspect behind the wheel.
Officers followed the stolen medical vehicle into Clovis before forcing the suspect to stop in the shopping center near Herndon and Fowler.
The accused thief in his forties was taken into custody and charged with stealing the vehicle and resisting arrest.