Note: The image (above) of Kevin Wheeler is embedded in Polk County Sheriff’s video of today’s press conference is from an unrelated case and is not connected to today’s arrest.
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The Polk County (FL) Sheriff’s office has arrested Paramedic Joshua Colon and says it will soon arrest Captain Anthony Damiano in connected with the theft of three vials of coronavirus vaccine. Damiano’s arrest is pending his return from an assignment in California. Polk County Fire Rescue named Colon its 2020 paramedic of the year a few weeks ago.
Polk County’s 2020 Paramedic of the Year was arrested by the sheriff’s office Tuesday after allegedly helping a supervisor steal coronavirus vaccines meant for Polk County first responders.
According to the police report, 31-year-old Joshua Colon stole three doses’ worth of the Moderna vaccine, then forged the vaccine screening and consent forms.
Colon reportedly told detectives he was directed to do so by his supervisor, a captain with the fire department who Grady said will likely be arrested upon his return home from vacation.
Deputies interviewed Colon at his lawyer’s office, Judd said, where Colon admitted to falsifying the paperwork. He said Damiano had asked him to procure doses of the vaccine for Damiano’s mother. According to the arrest report, Colon initially refused, but Damiano threatened to tell Colon’s supervisors that he was stealing and selling vaccines, which frightened the paramedic.
The next day, Judd said, Damiano ordered Colon to go on a lunch break, and Colon left the vaccines in a refrigerator. When he returned, according to the arrest report, he noticed that three doses were missing but did not report the issue.
At his lawyer’s office, Colon called Damiano, and the two discussed the vaccines while deputies monitored the call, Judd said. Damiano told Colon that the doses were in a car parked outside a friend’s house in Saint Cloud. Judd said deputies found two of the doses there, and that they’re no longer usable. The third dose has not been recovered