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Car stolen with vaccine vials inside was abandoned in Seffner parking lot

Left there the day of the theft, Feb. 3, it sat for nearly two months before a store manager contacted police.
Police released a videoof a man suspected in the Feb. 3 theft of a car containing vials of the coronavirus vaccine.
Police released a videoof a man suspected in the Feb. 3 theft of a car containing vials of the coronavirus vaccine. [ Plant City Police Department ]
Published Apr. 28
Updated Apr. 28

PLANT CITY — A courier’s car stolen Feb. 3 with COVID-19 vaccine doses inside was abandoned the same day in the parking lot of a Seffner car parts store, according to court documents.

Plant City police found the gray 2018 Hyundai Accent on March 27 after the store manager called to report that the car had been left there.

A cooler containing the 30 vials of vaccine, valued at about $10,000, was inside. The vaccine had expired.

Someone drove off with the car after the courier left it running while he went looking for help, Plant City police said. The courier was stuck in a line of vehicles while making a delivery at the Strawberry Festival Grounds, a public vaccination site at 2202 W Reynolds St., police said.

The stolen car was last seen heading west on Reynolds Street towards the Seffner area. An image of the suspect from a fairgrounds camera and an alert about the theft were distributed to law enforcement agencies nationwide.

After finding the car at Advance Auto Parts, 11850 E. Dr. M.L. King Blvd. in Seffner, police obtained a warrant March 29 to search the car. Among the evidence recovered was a fingerprint that was sent off for analysis, said police Lt. Alfred Van Duyne.

The theft remains under investigation.

According to the warrant request, the car was reported to have been left in the parking lot Feb. 3, the day of the theft. The auto parts manager told investigators it is common practice for customers to leave vehicles needing repair in the parking lot until the work is started.

The doors were locked and windows closed.