A 25-year-old St. Croix man made an appearance before a magistrate judge in Superior Court on Monday, following his arrest on Friday for allegedly taking two Health Department vehicles without permission. Court documents filed by the arresting officer said the defendant told him he was trying to obtain a job application at the time the two vehicles came into his possession.
Two white Jeep Wranglers operated by the Communicable Disease program were reported missing Friday afternoon, but police spokesman Toby Derima said it didn’t take long for police to locate the vehicles.
A Health Department official from the Charles Harwood Medical Clinic told police arriving on the scene that both vehicles were equipped with Global Positioning System devices. An official at Property and Procurement knew how to use the GPS devices to track down the missing vehicles, court documents said.
The Health officials who summoned the police also said they did not give anyone permission to take the vehicles out of the parking area.
Those documents became part of the record submitted to Superior Court Magistrate Miguel Camacho for the Monday court appearance for defendant Jeremy Allen, 25. Allen was arrested on Friday, shortly after he was allegedly seen getting into one of the vehicles, parked outside of a convenience store at Five Corners.
The second vehicle was found parked near the home Allen shared with a relative in Peter’s Rest.
Allen was charged with two counts of unauthorized use of a vehicle and possession of stolen property. Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion said in a statement she was relieved that the matter was quickly resolved.
The two 2020 Jeep Wranglers had been assigned to Communicable Disease to help in the local management of the COVID-19 outbreak. Encarnacion said they were used to conduct public outreach and in some cases, to transport patients.
When the suspect was questioned about the motive for taking two vehicles from Harwood Clinic, court documents included Allen’s explanation. He allegedly told police he needed the vehicle to pick up a job application. When the first one, which he took at night, got a flat tire, Allen said he went back and took another, using keys he found in the glove compartment of the vehicle he drove home.
Authorities also questioned the second occupant of Allen’s residence. In an affidavit filed by the arresting officer, the individual said they were told the strange vehicle parked by the house was brought over to help Allen report to work. The suspect later asked the co-habitant to drop him off by Charles Harwood clinic.