Potentially dangerous ‘nuclear gauge’ goes missing after vehicle theft in Pennsylvania

While a stolen vehicle situation isn’t normally worthy of national news, a recent instance in Pennsylvania most certainly is, simply due to the unique contents inside the vehicle that was stolen, probably unbeknownst to the thief.

According to The Daily Wire, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection put out an alert to the public in which it asked for assistance locating a “portable nuclear gauge” that went missing as a result of the car being stolen. 

It was made clear that undisturbed, the device is relatively safe, but if tampered with, it could leak radioactive gases that could harm the public.

A press release indicated that the device “belongs to KAKS and Company LLC of Harleysville, PA.”

Statement on the device

The state agency seemed alarmed that the device has gone missing, noting the potential dangers of it being broken open or otherwise tampered with.

“It is critical for anyone who has information about the lost nuclear gauge to contact local authorities or DEP,” DEP Bureau of Radiation Protection Director David Allard wrote in the press release.

It added: “As long as the device is not tampered with or damaged, it presents no hazard to public safety.”

“This type of nuclear gauge is commonly used to evaluate the properties of building and road-bed materials at construction sites throughout the commonwealth,” the press release explained. “The radioactive material contained within the gauge is believed to be in a safe, shielded position.”

Specific instructions

For the lucky — or unlucky — person who might discover the missing device, DEP added specific instructions with regard to handling it.

“Anyone who finds the gauge should not handle it directly, but rather maintain distance, limit time of proximity, and immediately contact local authorities or the DEP’s Southeast Regional Office at 484-250-5900,” the statement read.

It added: “A trained individual will recover the gauge.”

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