A burglar broke into a dentists’ office and stole 100 vials of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, then left them under a bush to spoil.
The unnamed 30-year-old suspect stole the vaccines along with $100,000 worth of equipment and a vial of Botox from North Harbor Dentistry in Purdy, near Seattle, late last Thursday or in the early hours of Friday office.
The one-shot vaccines, made in cooperation with pharmaceutical firm Janssen, were later found under some bushes, having spoiled after being left out of a refrigerator for too long.
It is unclear why he stole the vials, and if they were destroyed on purpose. All Americans are being offered a COVID-19 vaccine for free.
A North Harbor Dentistry staffer told DailyMail.com there was surveillance footage of the burglary, but refused to comment further.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said the surveillance footage is in evidence.
The burglar, who police didn’t name, is accused of committing two burglaries in Purdy, Washington, near Seattle
The 30-year-old suspect was caught on a surveillance tape from a nearby business, but police said the surveillance tape is in evidence
Police say 100 Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines, along with $100,000 in medical equipment and a vile of Botox was stolen from North Harbor Dentistry
Dentists are among the health professionals who can administer COVID-19 vaccines, KIRO 7 reported.
Police arrested the suspect on Wednesday and linked the man to a separate salon break-in about a half a mile away, where he allegedly stole $50,000 worth of salon products, hairstyling tools and towels, the Olympian reported.
Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that most of the stolen items were from the salon burglary were recovered.
Pierce County Sheriff’s office doesn’t release the suspect’s name but said he was charged with counts of second-degree burglary. Those charges will be forwarded to the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Geneve Filbert, who owns the salon, told KIRO 7 that the burglars broke through the back wooden wall and took everything they could the night before the vaccines were stolen.
The theft came after ten vials of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine were stolen from a Physicians’ Primary Care in Southwest Florida early last month, FOX 4 Now reported.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and Cape Coral police in Florida essentially said the same thing: Why steal something that’s free?
‘The answer is, “We’re not sure,” the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. But we want you to be cautious if you come across someone who offers you a vaccine outside of official vaccination events, medical/dental offices or pharmacies.’
Master Corporal Phil Mullen with the Cape Coral Police Public Affairs Department told FOX 4 Now that he hasn’t heard of any ‘street value’ for the vaccines.
‘If you want the vaccine there are avenues to get it without needing to steal it from a refrigerator,’ he told the Florida news station. ‘It’s sort of a strange one.’
But the real concern is the health risks after someone uses of the stolen vaccines.
There’s a concern among health experts that stolen vaccines will be administered without storing them properly, which poses a number of health concerns
Law enforcement say they don’t know why vaccines are being stolen because they’re free in America. J&J’s vaccine has been made in cooperation with rival firm Janssen
A law enforcement officer in Cape Coral, Florida, said he doesn’t know of any ‘street value’ for stolen vaccines. A box of J&J/Janssen vaccines is pictured
Steve Fijalka, the interim chief pharmacy officer at UW Medicine, told KIRO 7 that the Johnson & Johnson shots don’t have to be kept as cold as Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, but they still need to be refrigerated.
Asked about the risks of having a spoiled vaccine, Fijalka said: ‘You risk having infection, especially at the site of injection. You can have abscesses where it’s been injected or worse case — you can get major infection throughout your body,’ he said.
The vaccine also won’t be effective, which endangers not only the person who got the shot but also others.