Radioactive Tool Stolen From Construction Site
March 30, 2002
NC. -- Careless construction workers apparently are to blame for the
theft of a pickup truck with equipment containing radioactive material
chained to its bed, a state official said Friday.
of Friday afternoon, law enforcement had yet to find the truck or the
moisture density gauge, which was last seen Thursday afternoon inside
a case chained to the pickup owned Thompson-Arthur Division of APAC-Carolina
Inc., a Greensboro paving company.
A $1,000 reward was offerd by the company for information that leads
to the gauge's recovery, according to Lee Cox, a health physicist with
the state Division of Radiation Protection.
The gauge contains a minuscule amount-- 8 millicuries-- of Cesium 137,
Cox said. The state Department of Health and Natural Resources sent
out an alert late Thursday, telling anyone who finds the truck or gauge
to stay at least 10 feet away and contact police.
If handled improperly
or broken, Cox said that the radioactive material, which is sealed by
stainless steel in the gauge is a potential health and safety risk.
He also said that although the gauges cost around $10,000 apiece, the
theft of the radioactive material was likely unintentional. He said
the amount of material stolen "is nothing a terrorist would go
The theft occurred when paving company employees parked the truck at
a work site at the intersection of Highway 311 and High Point Road in
Forsyth County, according to state officials.
The workers were setting out traffic cones. Cox said he was told the
keys were left inside the truck.
"Apparently, the guys got to the construction site and were dealing
with traffic issues and they turned around and the truck was gone,"