Motive is a big part of any criminal case, so it’s meaningful when police say they know why pharmacist Steven Brandenburg, 46, sabotaged hundreds of doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Cops described him as an “admitted conspiracy theorist,” according to a probable cause statement obtained by WISN. He said that he thought the vaccine was unsafe, and could change people’s DNA (they don’t).
The defendant allegedly brought up his ongoing divorce, and faced a lot of stress. Prosecutors also asserted that he brought a gun to work in two incidents before the sabotage incident.
This comes as his wife filed an affidavit described his concerns about society “crashing down.”
Brandenburg is the pharmacist who Grafton police previously said he left out about 570 doses of the vaccine at the Advocate Aurora Health Hospital a couple of days before Christmas. That goes a long way, since the vaccination is a 2-dose series. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doses should be stored well below freezing temperature (-13°F and 5°F), but can be kept in a refrigerator for up to 30 days at 36°F and 46°F.
At first, Brandenburg allegedly tried to play this off as an accident, but he ended up admitting to doing this on purpose.
Online records viewed by Law&Crime shows that he has been in the middle of a divorce since June of 2020. His wife filed an affidavit on Dec. 30 describing his behavior in a Dec. 6 incident, according to the Associated Press. She claimed he dropped off a water purifier and two 30-day supplies of food at her home and that he said she was in denial about the world “crashing down.” In this account, he asserted that the government was going to execute cyberattacks and shut down the power grid. She alleged he was storing food and guns in rental units.
Brandenburg has bonded out of jail.
[Mugshot via Grafton Police Department]
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