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Police: COVID-19 test kit 'theft' was misunderstanding, have been returned

Coronavirus Test Kits
Posted at 7:45 PM, Mar 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 20:10:37-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucson Police now say COVID-19 test kits were not stolen from a downtown health center, and the incident was only a misunderstanding.

On Saturday evening, a Facebook post from the Tucson Police Department indicated a theft of 2019 test kits for the coronavirus from an El Rio Health Center on Congress Street. Police said the suspect was "disguised as a delivery driver," and made off with 29 COVID-19 test kits.

On Tuesday evening, police announced the "suspect" they identified with security footage -- whose picture was posted to their Facebook page -- was a real delivery driver with a company that regularly stops at the health center on behalf of Sonora Quest Laboratories.

When he came in to pick up the usual delivery, he mistakenly took the test kits, which he delivered to Sonora Quest per his duties.

Detectives interviewed the delivery driver on Monday, and corroborated his account with the delivery company.

Police say the tests have been returned to the El Rio Health Center.

In a news release Tuesday evening, TPD says security staff at the health center told detectives they believed the man was suspicious -- he was not a regular delivery driver at that location, arrived at the health center at an irregular time, and didn't park his car in the usual spot for delivery drivers.

Police didn't immediately say when or if they reached out to the delivery company involved.