Polk County ‘Paramedic of the Year’ arrested in theft of COVID vaccines

Florida

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — 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.

Polk County Fire Rescue has been assigned to delivering COVID vaccines to first responders in the county, and Colon had been tasked with administering those vaccines. On Jan. 6, Colon received three vials containing 10 vaccines each, and was directed to administer those to first responders at Station 38 in Davenport.

At the completion of the day, Colon was asked to report the total doses administered. He reported administering 28 vaccines, noting that two of them were no good. He later retracted himself and said he administered 27, noting that three were waste.

Days later, Colon was questioned regarding inconsistencies with vaccine screening and consent forms. According to deputies, Colon provided consent forms with names of three different people– two firefighters who denied receiving the vaccine, and one person who didn’t exist. Colon later admitted to detectives the three forms were fictitious.

Colon told detectives that on the day of the incident, his supervisor joked with him about getting some vaccines vaccines for his mother. He said he was told by his supervisor to report the vaccines as being no good. Colon told detectives he refused to provide those vaccines to his supervisor, at which time his supervisor threatened he would tell a higher up in the chain of command that Colon was selling the vaccines outside of work.

Colon said he was ordered to go on his lunch break by his supervisor later that day. When he returned to the station, he said he noticed the label tab was tampered with and three vaccines were missing. Colon said he did not question his supervisor about them or report the incident to anyone in the fire department.

Colon told deputies that when he was later asked for the documents for accountability purposes, he completed the forms to show each vaccine was accounted for and that he created fictitious names, email addresses and phone numbers.

Colon was taken into custody on Monday, January 25, 2021, and charged with:

  • 4 counts forgery (F3) $1,000 bond each
  • 4 counts uttering forged instrument (F3) $1,000 bond each
  • 4 counts falsifying medical records (M2) $250 bond each
  • 1 count official misconduct (F3) $1,000 bond each
  • 1 count criminal use of personal ID (F3) $1,000 bond each
  • 2 counts creating fictional personal ID (F3) $1,000 bond each

Colon was recently recognized for his actions on a “serious” multi-vehicle accident on Hwy 570.

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