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Burglar steals coronavirus test kits from Tucson health center

Posted at 7:56 PM, Mar 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 20:25:31-04

**Editor's Note: It was later revealed that a delivery man was misidentified as a burglar, and Tucson Police said initial reports about a theft "were proven to be false." See our full update on the incident here.

Tucson Police are asking for the public's help identifying someone who reportedly stole COVID-19 test kits from a downtown health center.

According to a Facebook post from the department, it happened at the El Rio Health Center at 839 West Congress Street just before 8 p.m. Surveillance video shows the suspect disguised as a delivery driver, walking into the health center and walking out with approximately 29 test kits.

At the time, employees were getting ready to close the facility. Staff didn't notice the missing test kits until the next morning, TPD said.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his 30s, between 5'9" and 5'11" with a large build. He has a full beard, with some greying, and left the scene in a reddish-colored Dodge Charger, or similar vehicle.

Police emphasized that the tests are essentially useless without a fully equipped lab, and professional staff to interpret the results. Home test kits for the coronavirus do not exist, and police say anyone who talks to someone trying to sell the kits should contact law enforcement.

The stolen kits were already replaced at the El Rio Health Center, but the stolen kits would help public health officials in future testing efforts.