BALTIMORE, MD (January 12, 2004) – The moisture density gauge containing nuclear material that was reported missing Friday was recovered by Baltimore County Police and Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) emergency responders over the weekend. Two suspects have been identified in the device’s theft.
MDE issued a public alert Friday to help locate the missing radiological equipment. A tip given to Baltimore County Police Saturday (Jan. 10) afternoon led to the device’s recovery at the end of Smallwood Street near the Baltimore County and City line around 11 p.m. that day.
The yellow device was found out of its transport case but remained in the locked and shielded position. No damage was identified. The licensed device is not a hazard to the public as long as the radioactive material remains locked in the device.
The Troxler Model 3411B surface moisture density gauge was allegedly stolen from the vehicle of a Hardin-Knight Associates, Inc. employee who resides in the 4000 block of Washington Street in Halethorpe Friday morning.
The device contains small amounts of radioactive material and is used to measure moisture and compaction in soils, concrete, asphalt and other aggregates. The gauge is yellow in color and approximately 3’x 2’ x 2’. The radioactive material it contains is Cesium-137 on an extendable rod and Americium-241 encased inside the device. A padlock is normally used to secure the Cesium-137 source in its shielded position when not in use.
The device was returned to the owning company earlier today.
Baltimore County Police continue their investigation into the theft of the device. Details regarding charges and the suspects involved in the machine’s disappearance can be obtained by contacting Baltimore County Police PIO Officer Sean Vinson at (410) 887-2210.