TUCSON, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Tucson police say a man whom they initially believed stole dozens of unused coronavirus testing kits from a health clinic... did NOT actually steal them. Instead, police have now said (in a Facebook post on Tuesday) that the man was, in fact, a legitimate delivery driver for a third-party transport company that subcontracts for Sonora Quest Laboratories, and was only doing his job.
[ORIGINAL STORY: Man steals dozens of unused coronavirus testing kits in Tucson]
Tucson police initially reported that on Friday, March 20, a man "disguised as a delivery driver" entered the El Rio Health Center, and obtained 29 unused COVID-19 test kits while employees were getting ready to close for the evening. Surveillance video then showed the man leaving in what appears to be a reddish colored Dodge Charger or similar-style vehicle.
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On Saturday morning, the workers noticed the kits were gone and called 911. El Rio employees had told police that they never have pickups at that time of night and they did not recognize the person as one of their regular delivery drivers. El Rio employees also told investigators the man did not park his vehicle in front where the drivers normally park. The business provided surveillance video to the officers and advised they wanted to prosecute for the burglary.
But it turns out - police now say that the man in question actually was a legitimate delivery driver. Tucson police released a new statement Tuesday on their Facebook page, saying that the man is a legitimate delivery driver for a third-party transport company that subcontracts for Sonora Quest Laboratories.
A delivery slip retained by the transport company’s branch manager corroborated the man’s account. After interviewing the delivery driver and employees from El Rio Health Center and Sonora Quest Laboratories, it was determined that the unused test kits were accidentally removed from El Rio and transported to Sonora Quest following a request for pick-up. El Rio employees have since confirmed the kits were returned. Police say the investigation is now closed.
In a statement, Tucson police said, "Thankfully, this was not a burglary and the unused test kits have been returned. The man in the previously released photographs is not suspected of any wrongdoing."
Police remind the public that if anyone actually does try to steal testing kits, they are basically useless, since the kits can only be used in a private lab that has the proper tools.
Police also say you should never buy equipment from anyone claiming to have COVID-19 or coronavirus test kits, because police say it's scam; there are no "home test" kits available.