Man drives off with coronavirus vaccines meant for Plant City distribution

The theft occurred Wednesday afternoon from the Strawberry Festival Grounds.
Police released a video of a man suspected in the theft of a car containing vials of the coronavirus vaccine.
Police released a video of a man suspected in the theft of a car containing vials of the coronavirus vaccine. [ Plant City Police Department ]
Published Feb. 4, 2021|Updated April 28, 2021

PLANT CITY — Police are searching for a man who stole a car with vials of the coronavirus vaccine inside.

The theft occurred about 4 p.m. Wednesday from the Red Parking Lot at the Strawberry Festival Grounds, 2805 W. Reynolds St., Plant City police said in a news release.

Related: Polk County paramedic arrested, captain accused in vaccine theft, sheriff says

The car is a 2018 gray Hyundai Accent with Florida license plate NPJJ58. The keys had been left in the ignition, according to a police report. Thirty vials of the vaccine valued at $10,000 were inside, properly refrigerated in a cooler, the report said.

The suspect is described as a thin, light-skinned man in his early 20s, with long hair, wearing a light-colored hoodie. Police released a short video showing the man walking at the festival grounds, the vaccine distribution site for Plant City.

A nationwide alert was issued about the theft.

Anyone with information was asked to call Detective Mark Dunnam at 813-757-9200.

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

HOW CORONAVIRUS IS SPREADING IN FLORIDA: Find the latest numbers for your county, city or zip code.

VACCINES Q & A: Have coronavirus vaccine questions? We have answers, Florida.

FACE MASKS: Read the latest on guidelines, tips for comfort and long-term wear

GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information.

THE CORONAVIRUS SCRAPBOOK: We collected your stories, pictures, songs, recipes, journals and more to show what life has been like during the pandemic.

A TRIBUTE TO THE FLORIDIANS TAKEN BY THE CORONAVIRUS: They were parents and retirees, police officer and doctors, imperfect but loved deeply.

HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.