Saturday, July 13, 2024

Someone Has Stolen A Radioactive Device From A Car In Connecticut

Someone apparently stole a radioactive device from a parked car in Connecticut on Tuesday morning, and local, state and federal law enforcement officers are investigating.

The HAKS Material Testing Group owns the nuclear gauge, which is used to measure soil density at construction sites. It was chained up inside a technician’s vehicle outside his home, Bridgeport police said.

“The reason that we’re so concerned, from a law enforcement angle, is that if this piece of equipment is manipulated a certain way, it could cause a danger to the pubic,” Bridgeport Police Captain Brian Fitzgerald said at an afternoon press conference.

The device features a yellow base and a black “plunger-type handle,” according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“The handle is used to extend and then retract the radioactive sources from the shielded position,” the NRC said. “When not in use, the handle is normally locked, with the sources in the retracted, safely shielded position.”

The NRC said the gauge contains small, sealed amounts of radioactive isotopes americium-241 and cesium-137.

Americium-241, or Am-241, is commonly used to measure density and thickness in certain medical, industrial and commercial devices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“When Am-241 powder is swallowed, absorbed through a wound, or inhaled it can stay in the body for decades,” the CDC states on its website.

Bridgeport PD Police have released surveillance footage of a possible suspect who was seen apparently using the technician's debit card.

The CDC says cesium-137, or Cs-137, is commonly used in medical radiation therapy devices for treating cancer, as well as in industrial devices that detect material thickness and liquid movement. External exposure can cause burns, acute radiation sickness and death.

Exposure to either Am-241 or Cs-137 may increase a person’s risk of developing cancer, according to the CDC.

The thief also stole the employee’s debit card, Fitzgerald said.

The card was used at two locations on Tuesday morning. Surveillance video captured it being used at a Walgreens Redbox, police said.

Anyone who finds the device is urged to leave it alone and report its location to the NRC’s Operations Center at (301) 816-5100.

Author: Red

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