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Radioactive Boy Scout Arrested
for Stealing Smoke Detectors

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August 9, 2007

David Hahn, 31, aka the radioactive boy scout was arrested and charged felony larceny on August 1st after a maintenance worker saw him stealing a smoke detector (smoke detectors contain a small amount of a radioactive isotope) from a ceiling in an apartment in the complex where he lived in Clinton Township, Michigan. Officials later found 16 smoke detectors in Hahn's Detroit suburb apartment.

Hahn became known as the radioactive boy scout in 1994 for his attempt to build a nuclear reactor in his family's backyard shed in Commerce Township, Michigan, he was 17 at the time.

In August of 1994 police stopped Hahn during a investigation into neighborhood tire thefts. This lead officers to find radioactive materials, chemicals, rocks, plastic, glass bottles and two exploded pipes in his car.

In an interview with Michigan health officials, Hahn, said he had been trying to produce energy and hoped it would help him earn his Eagle Scout badge. He acknowledge having a backyard laboratory in a potting shed at his mother's home.

Hahn's reactor was a large, cored-out block of lead, and he used lithium from $1000 worth of batteries to transform samples of thorium and uranium into fissionable isotopes. He gather radioactive materials by collecting small amounts from household products, such as americium from smoke detectors, thorium form camping lantern mantles, radium from clocks and tritium from gunsights. His home made reactor ended up emitting toxic levels of radioactivity, around 1000 times normal background radiation.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency designated Hahn's mother's property as a superfund hazardous materials cleanup site, dismantled the shed and its contents and buried them as low-level radioactive waste in Utah. Hahn refused medical evaluation for radiation exposure.

Hahn's recent mugshot shows that his face is covered with sores which investigators claim are from exposure to radioactive materials. He is being held on a $5,000 bond in the Macomb County jail. If convicted, he could face up to four years in jail.