Nassau police arrested Salvatore Brecciano, of North Merrick, on Friday.
Investigators say the 46-year-old took the ambulance from a firehouse in Merrick earlier this month. It belonged to the Merrick Fire Department. They keys were in the ignition.
Police tell Newsday that one of the clues pointing to the suspect was a 12-pack of beer left sitting on the ground on the spot where the vehicle was taken.
Investigators said it was purchased at a nearby 7-Eleven. They say Brecciano bought it there with a debit card.
The ambulance was recovered undamaged.
Brecciano was to be arraigned Saturday. It was unclear when he might get a lawyer.