A decorated Polk County Fire-Rescue Paramedic (near Orlando) has been arrested, Sheriff Grady Judd said, and a longtime captain with the county’s Fire Rescue will be arrested, after the captain convinced the paramedic to help him steal coronavirus vaccines meant for first responders.
Paramedic Joshua Colon, 31, was arrested Monday afternoon. He faces several felony charges, according to an arrest report, including forgery, uttering a false instrument, criminal use of personal identification, creating a fictitious person and falsifying an official record as a public servant. He has resigned from Polk County Fire Rescue, Fire Rescue Chief Robert Weech said in a news conference Tuesday.
Weech and Judd said Colon had been given a Paramedic of the Year award in 2020.
Fire Rescue Capt. Anthony Damiano will be arrested within the next day, Judd said at the same news conference. Damiano is on his way back from a work assignment in California. A fire rescue employee for 17 years and a captain for 14 of those years, he will likely face theft and official misconduct charges.
The Sheriff’s Office began investigating after a battalion chief noticed discrepancies in the paperwork Colon filed after an assignment to vaccinate other first responders, Judd said. Colon had done such work before, apparently without issue.
But investigators discovered that the paperwork for this round of vaccinations included three falsified forms: one with the name of a former Haines City firefighter, and two with fake names, one of which resembled another former Haines City firefighter.
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