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Missing vials of COVID-19 vaccine prompts St. Pete PD investigating into fire department official

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Posted at 5:03 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 18:25:11-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The St. Petersburg Police Department is investigating reports of missing vials of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sources first tipped off ABC Action News about the serious allegation that multiple vials of the vaccine have gone missing or have been stolen and that St. Pete Fire & Rescue were looking into one of their own.

ABC Action News worked the story all day Friday, making calls to lawmakers, police, and fire, and to stakeholders in the community to figure out what exactly happened here.

While neither St. Pete PD or St. Pete Fire & Rescue would confirm or deny whether any such investigation was happening on Friday, Mayor Rick Kriseman's Office did.

Benjamin Kirby, Director of Communications for the Mayor's Office told ABC Action News: "We understand an allegation has been made against a fire department official and St. Petersburg police are currently investigating it.”

In light of the on-going global coronavirus pandemic and as millions wait for their turn to get vaccinated right here in Florida, ABC Action News has been pressing every department to release more details on this developing story.

Pinellas County EMS confirmed with ABC Action News, on Friday, that they were aware of an investigation being conducted by St. Pete police.

On Monday, Feb. 1, St. Pete Fire & Rescue Chief James Large acknowledged there is an investigation into missing vials of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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While acknowledgment of the investigation has been made, officials are not releasing how many vials were stolen, where they were taken from or when.

We are seeing an uptick in the number of crimes related to the COVID-19 vaccine across the country. Recently, authorities arrested a Polk County Fire Rescue paramedic, they say stole doses.

In Philadelphia, the city just cut ties with a group supposed to be helping distribute vaccines. The founder is now accused of pocketing doses for his friends and it turns out he wasn't qualified to give the vaccine.

In Washington, a hospital is accused of offering the vaccine to its VIP donors.

In Georgia, detectives say a medical center gave the vaccine to educators before they were eligible.