Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Crime News

Thieves Who Stole Cobalt-60 Will Soon Be Dead 923

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The Washington Post reports that the carjackers who set off international alarm bells by absconding with a truckload of highly radioactive cobalt-60, used in hospital radiotherapy machines, most likely had no idea what they were stealing and will die soon from exposure. The robbery occurred as the cobalt-60 was being driven from a public hospital in the border town of Tijuana to a storage facility in central Mexico. While waiting for daybreak at a gas station in the state of Hidalgo the drivers were jumped by two gunmen who beat them and stole the truck. "I believe, definitely, that the thieves did not know what they had; they were interested in the crane, in the vehicle," says Mardonio Jimenez, a physicist with Mexico's nuclear safety commission. The prospect that material that could be used in a radioactive dirty bomb had gone missing sparked an urgent two-day hunt that concluded when the material, cobalt-60, used in hospital radiotherapy machines, was found along with the stolen Volkswagen truck. The cobalt-60 was found, removed from its casing, in a rural area near the town of Hueypoxtla about 25 miles from where the truck was stolen. Jimenez suspects that curiosity got the better of the thieves and they opened the box. So far the carjackers have not been arrested, but authorities expect they will not live long. "The people who handled it will have severe problems with radiation. They will, without a doubt, die.""
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Thieves Who Stole Cobalt-60 Will Soon Be Dead

Comments Filter:
  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:22PM (#45609275) Homepage Journal

    or gain superpowers.

  • Tough luck.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:23PM (#45609279)

    Instant Karma is gonna get ya...

    • Re:Tough luck.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jythie ( 914043 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:25PM (#45609309)
      The karma in this case seems rather disproportional. Yeah, what they did was horrible, but death, esp such an ugly death, seems a bit out of balance.
      • Re:Tough luck.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by casings ( 257363 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:30PM (#45609387)

        I completely and utterly disagree.

        You clearly haven't been the victim of any robberies at gunpoint. It is terrifying and life-changing and most victims usually end up with some sort of PTSD. It takes a sick and depraved mind to commit such acts, and those responsible fully deserve death. There are far too many people in this world to allow people who are willing to kill to continue to breathe the same air as the rest of the population.

        • Re:Tough luck.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:35PM (#45609487)
          I know a lot of people don't agree with us, but this isn't a case of stealing to feed your starving family; anyone willing to so wantonly disregard the rights of others for personal gain does not belong in our society.
        • Re:Tough luck.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jythie ( 914043 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:43PM (#45609617)
          Having been jumped and beating unconscious, I still do not wish a painful horrible death on the people who did it.
        • Re:Tough luck.. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Patch86 ( 1465427 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @02:03PM (#45609929)

          If you think stealing a van and hitting someone warrants death, you are an unhinged individual (or more likely, an internet tough guy). Even the Old Testament said "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth"- that is, the punishment should match the crime. If someone takes your eye out, you're entitled to take up to one eye- not the whole head.

          And I don't think there are many people who would argue that the Old Testament was too lenient...

          • Re:Tough luck.. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Ravaldy ( 2621787 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @02:16PM (#45610149)

            I don't think this one was karma but rather Darwinism. I'm sure the containers had plenty of warnings. They were crooked and DUMB.

          • Re:Tough luck.. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @02:20PM (#45610207)

            There's a difference between wanting them killed and finding them dead as a result of their crime a convenient outcome.

            Every time a would-be-criminal ends up killing themselves because of their own stupidity, I smile.

            • Re:Tough luck.. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @03:05PM (#45610869) Journal

              This, right here.

              There is no call for capital punishment on a carjacker. However, if a couple of them die painfully after giving a couple of innocent folks a severe beating, doing so at gunpoint, and all because they were too dumbassed to ignore the warnings splayed all over the container?

              I really cannot bring myself to feel bad about the outcome.

              For those who feel otherwise, look at it this way: When you use a lethal weapon to commit a crime, you state to the world that you are willing to kill innocent people in order to get what you want, no matter what. From the moment when you point that gun at someone, your life is automatically forfeit should you die as a result of committing that crime. It doesn't matter if you died instantly because the victim shot back, or because every orifice you have is slowly bleeding out of your swollen body due to radiation exposure... you got what was coming to you.

              Oh, you're dying a painful death from the stuff you stole and some bleeding-heart type on Slashdot says I should show you some sympathy? Okay: you'll find sympathy in the dictionary between "shit" and "syphilis".

              On the plus side, maybe the next person contemplating violent acts to get what they want will think twice because of these two Darwin Award winners?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          Did you ever wonder what motivates people to take such extreme and risky actions? It isn't because they are evil or "bad guys".

          • Re:Tough luck.. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @02:18PM (#45610175) Homepage

            It isn't always because they are evil or "bad guys".


          • Re:Tough luck.. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @02:21PM (#45610247)

            Did you ever wonder what motivates people to take such extreme and risky actions? It isn't because they are evil or "bad guys".

            Really? You're saying that the single best course of action they had available to them was to beat those guys and steal the truck? That, in addition, any rational person put in their situation would choose the exact same course of action?

            Sort of makes you wonder why they chose to beat the two guys instead of just force them at gunpoint to be tied up. They must have had literally no other choice.

      • by hubie ( 108345 )
        How badly would the drivers have had to been beaten for it to be more proportional?
        • Re:Tough luck.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Ash Vince ( 602485 ) * on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:55PM (#45609813) Journal

          How badly would the drivers have had to been beaten for it to be more proportional?

          I thought the US was supposed to be a christian country and slashdot was supposed to be am mostly american site (I say mostly because I am actually british)?

          Didn't Jesus say:

            'You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.'

          So in other words even though there are shitty people in the world then anyone who considers themselves a christian should strive to not seek revenge against such people by killing them or wishing them to be killed. Instead they should forgive and leave any judgment for the lord. Wishing an agonising death upon them would then surely never be proportional, no matter how harshly they beat their victims.

          But of course nobody in the US seems to actually give a shit about this part of Jesus' teachings or else you would not have the death penalty.

          • by wo1verin3 ( 473094 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @02:15PM (#45610125) Homepage

            There is no way Jesus said that, my gardener can barely speak two words of English.

          • Whoa! Hold on a second, dude. First, you must realize the majority of Christians in the US are only Christians on Sundays or when the dogma serves to back their beliefs. Second, a belief in a religion doesn't equal the existence of morality or empathy. Clearly. Thirdly, and I mean this most sincerely above all other points, though Christianity is the most popular religion in the US, please don't lump all of us under the same religious umbrella. It makes you look like a right wing Christian from the US, and
      • Re:Tough luck.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kirkb ( 158552 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:33PM (#45609443) Homepage

        Welcome to Mexico, where the highs and lows in life are disproportionately higher/lower than what first-world countries are used to.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by KenFury ( 55827 )

        Forget Karma, this is natural repercussions of actions.

  • by chalsall ( 185 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:27PM (#45609331) Homepage

    Title says it all.

  • by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:28PM (#45609349) Journal

    On my lunch bag when I put it in the fridge at work I put

    "Strontium-90 - RADIOACTIVE" on one side

    The other I put


  • Darwin (Score:5, Funny)

    by ableeker ( 948936 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:28PM (#45609357)
    I nominate these guys for the Darwin award!
    • Re:Darwin (Score:5, Informative)

      by Savage-Rabbit ( 308260 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @02:41PM (#45610519)

      I nominate these guys for the Darwin award!

      These guys are amateurs compared to the Mexican scrappers who sold hospital equipment containing 6,000 pellets of cobalt-60 for scrap. The machinery was then processed into rebar which was in turn was used in god knows how many homes in Mexico and the USA as well as metal furniture that ended ups as far away as Canada. The Mexicans even found pellets of cobalt-60 embedded into the asphalt surface of roads in Sinaloa and 109 houses had to be torn down and disposed of as radioactive waste. All in all some 5000 metric tons of steel were contaminated ... as far as is known. According to a documentary I watched about this incident there is a good possibility that there are still contaminated houses and furniture out there. The incident only came to light when a truck with a load of contaminated rebar drove past a Los Alamos laboratories radiation checkpoint and set of a whole bunch of alarms. One person died of bone cancer, another 4 were injured and least 10 individuals received significant exposures and some scrapyard workers became sterile. There is also a good chance that many more people either will, or already have, developed cancer since it took about a year to discover this snafu and even longer to track down all the contaminated material already in use. This story made me think about how US Homeland security worries about 'dirty bombs'. The only thing that still amazes me about that particular contingency is that it hasn't happened yet because highly radioactive material is apparently very easy to come by. The Juarez incident caused radiation sensors to be installed at all major border crossings but one wonders if this has been extended to every single crossing along the US/Mexican border. Either way, I'd be worried.

  • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:31PM (#45609399) Journal

    "Kiss Me Deadly".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:34PM (#45609469)

    By any chance was it a 1964 Chevy Malibu?

  • I am going to stencil "Cobalt-60" on every thing that I own that could be of interest to the thieves.
  • by bob_super ( 3391281 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:38PM (#45609541)

    The difference with about 100 Americans on the road today, is that at least they know it in advance.

  • by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @02:22PM (#45610259)

    They will, without a doubt, die...

    ...eventually. Like everyone else on the planet.

    Or at least 93% of us, since 7% of all humans who have ever existed are alive today.

  • by BenSchuarmer ( 922752 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @02:39PM (#45610483)
    If the loot starts to glow, just say "No"
  • Serves them right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Thursday December 05, 2013 @03:06PM (#45610893)

    They stole a truck with no idea of the cargo's value or importance, and probably didn't even care if someone else could die if they stole it. It might have been medical supplies, vaccines, food rations, anything. And if they'd gotten involved in a high speed pursuit they could have killed someone just running away. Not to mention their willingness to threaten deadly force in the act, which would have given the driver grounds to use the same in self defense, even without the cargo being lethal.

    Which would itself only increase any self defense fatality in being justified if the thieves had gotten shot.

    They jacked a rig, had no concern for the value of human life, and it bit them in the ass. To be blunt, they had it coming.

    The fact that the authorities aren't even going to be responsible for punishing them means they have nobody to blame but themselves.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead