NewsPinellas County


St. Pete City Council left in the dark on theft of COVID-19 vaccine vials, investigation into fire department employee

Posted at 3:07 PM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 15:07:07-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Petersburg City Council members are in the dark about an investigation into stolen COVID-19 vaccine vials.

ABC Action News first broke the story on Friday after sources indicated a firefighter was under investigation for the theft.

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

At Thursday’s city council meeting Councilman Robert Blackmon asked Amber Boulding, Emergency Manager for the City of St. Pete, about the investigation.

“Everything is still under investigation,” responded Boulding.

Blackmon expressed concerns to Boulding, including how he first heard of the theft on the news, and how council members were not looped into the investigation.

“We want to be involved in taking care of this business,” said Blackmon.

Fire Chief James Large first acknowledged the investigation on Monday, three days after ABC Action News first reported on the stolen vials.

At the time, he released this statement: “SPFR has requested SPPD to investigate the possibility of missing COVID-19 vaccine doses. At this time, the investigation remains on going, and we cannot comment further until its conclusion.”

During Thursday’s meeting, City Administrator and Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin did not call it a possibility like the fire chief. She confirmed there was, in fact, a theft of vials at the center of both an internal and criminal investigation.

“We are moving through the process,” she said, “It’s being handled. We’re on it.”

Council members are expecting an updated report on the investigation, but it is unknown when that will happen.

St. Petersburg Police Department is leading the criminal investigation. All Agencies ABC Action News reached out to are refusing to release details into how many vials were stolen, when or where.