Livonia nurse charged with stealing vaccine from TCF Center in Detroit

A 41-year-old Livonia nurse has been charged with stealing two syringes of COVID-19 vaccine from a clinic in TCF Center, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday.

Saeedeh Elahi during her arraignment.

 Saeedeh Elahi is accused of taking the doses of the Moderna vaccine Monday from the Detroit vaccination site. The woman allegedly placed the syringes and two vaccination cards in her purse, Prosecutor Kym Worthy said.

“There is simply no excuse for this alleged conduct," Worthy said in a statement.

"State and local governments have been doing their level best to get vaccines to as many people as possible," she said. "This case should send a loud and clear message that this conduct is criminal and will be taken seriously.” 

Elahi was detained by Detroit police Monday after a member of the medical staff at the convention center reported seeing the nurse take the syringes, Detroit Chief Operating Officer Hakim Berry said. Officers on site stopped the suspect before she made her way out of the facility, said Berry.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said during a press briefing Wednesday that as the city approaches 150,000 vaccinations administered by the health department, he’s not sure what the motive for the alleged theft was.

“The employee allegedly took two doses, a fellow employee spotted it, immediately contacted the authorities, and she was arrested and charged now,” Duggan said. “I think it gives you an indication of that the security systems we have. There’s security everywhere, police everywhere, cameras everywhere. I have no idea what possessed someone to think they could slip two syringes out of there, but I’m really pleased with how the other employees responded."

 Elahi is charged with one count of larceny in a building, a felony that carries up to four years in prison. She was arraigned Wednesday in 36th District Court before Magistrate Malaika Ramsey-Heath.

 Elahi's attorney, Christopher Brown, asked for a waiving of the reading of the complaint and not-guilty plea was entered for her. She received a $20,000 personal bond and is due back in court at 8:30 a.m. April 13 before Judge Kenneth King.

Ramsey-Heath said the case is "unique" and that sometimes there is leftover vaccine that is "being thrown away and going to waste many days" at some vaccination sites.

The magistrate said she does not see Elahi as a danger to the community or a flight risk but acknowledged she did not know the specific circumstances of the case.

Brown said the nurse is a married mother of three who runs a youth group and food bank at a local mosque.