Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Thieves Who Stole Cobalt-60 Will Soon Be Dead

timothy posted about a year ago | from the felony-suicide-rule dept.

Crime 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.""

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

They will, without a doubt, die... (5, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#45609275)

or gain superpowers.

Re:They will, without a doubt, die... (4, Funny)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#45609411)

and be the syfy movie of the week.

Re:They will, without a doubt, die... (4, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#45609641)

Now that is a fate worse than death

Re:They will, without a doubt, die... (4, Funny)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#45609659)

Probably not. Radioactive is a necessary but not sufficient cause for superpowers.

You are going to need to combine that with spiders, toxic chemicals, a DNA X-factor, experimental drugs, or something else to kick off the process.

Tough luck.. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609279)

Instant Karma is gonna get ya...

Re:Tough luck.. (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#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.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609361)

Shee-it happens.
Too bad for them.
Glad the radioactive material was found and secured.

Re:Tough luck.. (-1, Troll)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#45609427)

Ok, who ordered refried beaners?

Re:Tough luck.. (0)

thunderclap (972782) | about a year ago | (#45609539)

If I could I would mod you up

Re:Tough luck.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609377)

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.

fuck em

Re:Tough luck.. (1, Insightful)

backdoc (416006) | about a year ago | (#45609559)

Here goes my karma....

But, I agree completely, it's just poetic justice. And, it's less scum to worry about.

Re:Tough luck.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609625)

No, I disagree. I think the punishment is incredibly fair. They brought this on themselves. You its sad to admit people are reduced to this but still you don't steal things. You don't. I have been homeless and slept in fenced in power box areas. I have slept in empty storage units. I have slept in movie theater dumpsters. (the massive bags of waste popcorn make great pillows). You have to be smart about it, and stealing a crane truck to sell is ignorant. Best part is that everyone they came in contact with once they open the container got a lethal dose.

Re:Tough luck.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609725)

Best part is that everyone they came in contact with once they open the container got a lethal dose.

their starving wife and children?

Re:Tough luck.. (5, Insightful)

casings (257363) | about a year ago | (#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.. (4, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | about a year ago | (#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.. (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#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.. (2)

hubie (108345) | about a year ago | (#45609419)

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

Re:Tough luck.. (1)

gcmd (894557) | about a year ago | (#45609465)

beaten off?

Re:Tough luck.. (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about a year ago | (#45609687)

You miss the point. The act of stealing it and being too stupid to know is why they deserve death. Quit being are squeamish, this society will collapse and the majority will die as horribly as those robbers did. And they will only have themselves to blame. We are no better than Atlantis, Egypt, Babylon, Greece, or Rome.

Re:Tough luck.. (4, Insightful)

kirkb (158552) | about a year ago | (#45609443)

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

Re:Tough luck.. (2, Informative)

KenFury (55827) | about a year ago | (#45609459)

Forget Karma, this is natural repercussions of actions.

Re:Tough luck.. (5, Insightful)

chilvence (1210312) | about a year ago | (#45609575)

Which is defined as Karma, for your convenience.

Re:Tough luck.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609679)

Karma is people on Facebook hoping that bad things happen to people they don't like.

Re:Tough luck.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609721)

I thought it was just an integer in a database?!

Re:Tough luck.. (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#45609683)

Termed as karma, not defined as karma.

Re:Tough luck.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609461)

If they die, the whole humanity will be better.

The problem is that other people, and I guess good people, will die unknowingly.

Re:Tough luck.. (1)

hattig (47930) | about a year ago | (#45609477)

Yeah. Got to hope that they didn't use it as a chair, or look at it for a long time after removing it from the box.

I don't know what the maximum exposure to Cobalt-60 is before you wished you were dead though. Sounds like it could be minutes?

Re:Tough luck.. (1)

Lord Apathy (584315) | about a year ago | (#45609499)

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.

I don't agree. I think the karma is spot on. The karma is not for what they did but what they could have done with it. They could have been intending to use it to make dirty bomb what could have exposed hundreds, if not thousands to such an ugly death.

I would agree with you if they had just stolen a truck load of money or just about anything else. Karma is a bitch though. An I'm sure glad that I'm not them.

Re:Tough luck.. (2)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#45609573)

I don't agree. I think the karma is spot on. The karma is not for what they did but what they could have done with it.

That would only make sense if they knew what they were stealing, and they knew the implications of stealing it, and they stole it anyway.

Re:Tough luck.. (3, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#45609645)

The best guess right now is that they stole the truck for the crane it was carrying.

Re:Tough luck.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609501)

The universe doesn't care. They opened a box they didn't understand. Tough. Babies are born every day with defective genes and die too. Tough.

Re:Tough luck.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609507)

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.

you believe in karma? WTH man

Re:Tough luck.. (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#45609667)

Personally, no. Just responding within the structure of the OP's karma comment.

Re:Tough luck.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609553)

If the couriers had shot these violent robbers dead at the scene, not too many people would be crying for them.

In fact, not only did they commit battery and armed robbery, they also created a hazard by opening what was almost certainly a clearly labeled containment case.

Re:Tough luck.. (1)

Transfinite (1684592) | about a year ago | (#45609579)

No! not all, for a fucking crane!. Career thugs, criminals that would conceivably go on to commit murder (if they haven't already) and who knows what else? If they do die, I hope it's painful and agonizing. At least if that does happen they can be immortalized as the winners of the Darwin awards.

Re:Tough luck.. (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about a year ago | (#45609731)

These guys wouldn't hesitate to shoot you or your family in the face for the chance to steal a truckload of something.

They put their hands into the blender of life.

Seems kind of harsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609307)

Even by Mexican standards.

Re:Seems kind of harsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609509)

Even by Mexican standards.

Not really. Mexico has been known to shoot at people trying to cross their southern border.

Good to see Justice Prevails (0, Troll)

CajunArson (465943) | about a year ago | (#45609311)

Apparently the "RADIOACTIVE YOU'LL DIE IF YOU OPEN THIS!!!" markings aren't that universal (fortunately).

Now if only we could put more cobalt 60 into those drug shipments and clean out the cartels in such a tidy manner.

Re:Good to see Justice Prevails (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609491)

Sounds like the story PU-239 where the Russian gangster ends up snorting the plutonium.

Re:Good to see Justice Prevails (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609703)

Apparently the "RADIOACTIVE YOU'LL DIE IF YOU OPEN THIS!!!" markings aren't that universal (fortunately).

Oh, come now, you and I both know that if such a box were shipped to the general Slashdot population, we'd lose around 80% of the posters here, each one a horrible, inconceivably painful death predicated by the thought or outright declaration of "I'm not going to let someone tell me what to do! I know full well that's exactly what I'd do if I had something I didn't want THEM to see, so I'm going to open this up and immediately rub its contents, whatever they are, directly on my genitals just to show the world THEY CAN'T EVAR CONTROL ME!"

Re:Good to see Justice Prevails (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609729)

Now if only we could put more cobalt 60 into those drug shipments and clean out the cartels in such a tidy manner.

The war on drugs is conducted by fascists and only fools believe it
could ever succeed.

So fuck you, you stupid white trash moron. Idiots like you are why the places
you are from are places worth avoiding.

Justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609315)

nice

Self-solving problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609317)

Problem solved.

isn't it possible to detect (0)

etash (1907284) | about a year ago | (#45609329)

with satellites, big doses of uncontained radioactive materials? Shouldn't such materials be "glowing" to sensitive sensors from the space or something ?

Re:isn't it possible to detect (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609373)

You've been watching too much tv

Too much TV? (0)

Max Threshold (540114) | about a year ago | (#45609479)

Are you sure about that? We can identify radiation sources in the sky with pinpoint accuracy. It seems unlikely that we don't have radio telescopes pointed in the other direction, considering the geopolitical importance of nuclear materials.

Re:Too much TV? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609629)

We can identify radiation sources in the sky with pinpoint accuracy.

Yeah, multiple times what the sun will put out in its lifetime against the vast vacuum of cold space. Aside from that you mostly get infrared, radio and visible light. All three useless in this case given the background of where you're looking for it. So, this is a little different. And even at that there are forms of radiation we have a very hard time detecting the origins of with any real accuracy. If you want to dispute this I'll leave it to you to provide the proof.

Re:isn't it possible to detect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609519)

We were using satellites to detect high concentrations of radioactivity as far back as the 1960s, when we discovered that spy satellites were excellent at approximating prospects for new uranium mines. So, while we don't officially have any beep-boops in space that can track radioactive trucks in real-time, the idea isn't so far-fetched as to be relegated exclusively to fiction.... it'll probably happen one day.

Re:isn't it possible to detect (2)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about a year ago | (#45609421)

In some cases yes. The L3 band used by the GPS satellite system is used to detect and report nuclear detonations, but I do not know if a small amount of cobalt-60 would be detected by a satellite 26,000 kilometres away.

Re:isn't it possible to detect (1)

etash (1907284) | about a year ago | (#45609517)

yeah geostationary orbit sounds like way far way, but maybe could be from satellites oribiting ~500km over the blue dot

Re:isn't it possible to detect (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about a year ago | (#45609609)

The L3 band doesn't detect anything (how would that work?).

GPS satellites carry optical sensors looking for the very characteristic
flash of a nuclear explosion. There is no such thing as "radiation detection
from space" (except, of course, if you are looking for cosmic rays).

Re:isn't it possible to detect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609485)

Do you know how radioactive space is? This wouldn't be a drop in the bucket.

Re:isn't it possible to detect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609583)

You might be able to pick up the gamma, but alpha and beta would be stopped pretty quickly by the air, atmospheric water etc. Co-60 is a beta/gamma emitter, so it's possible in theory, but I'd imagine pretty unlikely. A better bet would be to put out a story that the thieves will be seriously ill or dead within a few days so they panic and "hand themselves in" at a hospital.

Re:isn't it possible to detect (1)

idji (984038) | about a year ago | (#45609635)

In the 1990s when some stuff went missing in Istanbul the International Atomic Energy Agency flew a grid over the city with a helicopter dangling some equiment underneath that could pick up these levels of radiation.

Re: isn't it possible to detect (5, Informative)

e3m4n (947977) | about a year ago | (#45609637)

Geiger-Mueller detectors work on the photoelectric effect. Point source radiation is an inverse square law. You wouldn't detect this stuff even a few miles away. Reactors hardly release any isotopes. It's the thermals that show up on satellites

Re:isn't it possible to detect (1)

Millennium (2451) | about a year ago | (#45609693)

It depends on the exact type of radiation and such, but the big thing is your uncontained. They wouldn't have been able to detect the material until the container was opened, which the thieves didn't do immediately.

When they found the material, that's exactly what had happened: the thieves had opened the box. But they had also already run away, which is why the thieves still haven't been caught.

Evolution in action.... (3, Funny)

chalsall (185) | about a year ago | (#45609331)

Title says it all.

Re:Evolution in action.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609565)

Title says it all.

Not if they have had a bunch of kids already. Evolution is getting rid of them before they reproduce, not depriving them of a ripe old age.

Super Powers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609333)

Who knows they might mutate and gain super powers.
Here comes Taco Man to defeat the evil Gringos and pave the way for the Reconquista.

Good, that makes sure they never steal again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609347)

See subject!

radioactive markings (5, Funny)

Danathar (267989) | about a year ago | (#45609349)

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

"LIVE SPECIMEN - BIOHAZZARD"

Re:radioactive markings (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#45609567)

So you had Hot Pockets for lunch?

Re:radioactive markings (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609587)

Way to make sure all your colleagues know what a dork you are...

Re:radioactive markings (3, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#45609653)

"Strontium-90 - RADIOACTIVE"

"LIVE SPECIMEN - BIOHAZZARD"

The hell kind of deli do you shop at?

Poor bastards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609353)

Sure they committed a crime, but nobody deserves to die like that. My condolences to them and their families.

I'm getting a sneaking suspicion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609355)

that cobalt-60 is used in hospital radiotherapy machines.

Darwin (5, Funny)

ableeker (948936) | about a year ago | (#45609357)

I nominate these guys for the Darwin award!

Re:Darwin (2)

Anon, Not Coward D (2797805) | about a year ago | (#45609393)

we need to know if they already have children

Re:Darwin (-1, Flamebait)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45609611)

They're Mexican and older then 14. So yes, they have children.

Re:Darwin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609665)

we need to know if they already have children

They are Mexican, whats the chances?

Was the truck flagged with radiation placards? (0)

cyn1c77 (928549) | about a year ago | (#45609365)

If so, they deserve to die.

Re:Was the truck flagged with radiation placards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609689)

If it wasn't the drivers and the company where not following the road code, and should be prosecuted.

Re:Was the truck flagged with radiation placards? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year ago | (#45609715)

If so, they deserve to die.

hmmm... (1)

no-body (127863) | about a year ago | (#45609379)

I wonder, in your car, having some properly shielded container looking precious with that kind of stuff in it would take care of car thieves for good?

Re:hmmm... (1)

VIPERsssss (907375) | about a year ago | (#45609449)

Too much risk for collateral damage. I seem to remember a story about an entire village getting contaminated by cobalt from a scrap X-Ray machine. I'll be damned if I'm going to search for the article, though.

Re:hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609647)

Is it this one? Goiânia_accident [wikipedia.org] .

Re:hmmm... (5, Informative)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about a year ago | (#45609691)

Here you go: The Goiânia accident [wikipedia.org] .

It wasn't an X-ray machine though, but a device for radiotherapy.
Fortunately, X-ray machines are harmless when powered down.

I am reminded of the final scene in (2)

mark_reh (2015546) | about a year ago | (#45609399)

"Kiss Me Deadly".

Could Be Worse (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#45609401)

They could have lived long enough to sell the material to someone nefarious.

Re:Could Be Worse (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about a year ago | (#45609515)

That's not really a transaction that you set up on one day's notice.

"Hey. I heard that you were a terrorist and I just wanted to give you a call and offer you some radioactive material that I happened to get my hands on. So is that something you would be interested in?"

They will, without a doubt, die. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609429)

*Everyone* will, without a doubt, die.

Except maybe Sergey Brin.

I'm afraid you've been misinformed. (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#45609549)

Ted Nugent disagrees.

Who Was in Charge of Security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609435)

Microsoft?

News Flash (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609437)

Every one of us will, without a doubt, die.

How to explain minimum wage hikes to an idiot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609455)

How to explain minimum wage hikes to an idiot:

You: You know how much a fast food taco costs?

Idiot: About a dollar.

You: Would you buy it if it was 10 dollars?

Idiot: No.

You: You're the taco.

Re:How to explain minimum wage hikes to an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609511)

This is basic supply-demand curve dynamics

This isn't difficult stuff; If a job or task produces $8/hr output, why the fuck would a company pay someone $10/hr to do it? Answer: They won't.

Furthermore, who is to say that because a job or task doesn't produce $10/hr in output that job or task isn't a perfectly valid and useful job? ...ohh, right, the same government who says that your healthcare plan isn't good enough. Motherfuckers.

"They will, without a doubt, die." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609463)

Is this a confirmation that the undead exist and after being exposed to Cobalt-60 you lose all your chances to turn undead?
Because AFAIK, every one of us - without a doubt - will die.

What was the make and model of the get away car? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609469)

By any chance was it a 1964 Chevy Malibu?

Re:What was the make and model of the get away car (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about a year ago | (#45609589)

Best damn car on the lot.

OK. This is it. Making stencils right now. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#45609475)

I am going to stencil "Cobalt-60" on every thing that I own that could be of interest to the thieves.

Re:OK. This is it. Making stencils right now. (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#45609623)

You will be a hit with the TSA.

Natural Consequenses (1)

rjune (123157) | about a year ago | (#45609489)

Sometimes thieves strike it big and sometimes they get caught, and sometimes they wind up dead. Hopefully they won't suffer for too long.

Depends on exposure (1)

e3m4n (947977) | about a year ago | (#45609503)

All too aware of Cobalt -60. Iron 59 will undergo neutron proton reaction and become cobalt 60. It's the most common isotope of concern in reactor compartments. It has a long half life but it's decay produces a gamma of 7 MeV (mega electron volts).

If this is really source material for X-ray equipment, then why wasn't it well marked and locked in a relatively difficult container requiring a blow torch to cut through?

Re:Depends on exposure (1)

koan (80826) | about a year ago | (#45609655)

Mexico... that's why.

"They will, without a doubt, die." (3, Interesting)

bob_super (3391281) | about a year ago | (#45609541)

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

It happens sometimes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45609561)

"Whatcha got in the trunk?"

"Oh, you don't want to look in there."

CBLI Candidates (1)

PaddyM (45763) | about a year ago | (#45609595)

I know Cleveland BioLabs is working on bacteria which impact acute radiation sickness. Would be interesting if they could try it on these thieves if they would turn themselves in.

*Disclaimer* I own CBLI stock and would obvioiusly like their stock to rise, but more importantly would like them to succeed as risks to radiation exposure from old nuclear power plants grows.

Laugh (1)

koan (80826) | about a year ago | (#45609633)

But now there's an international news story about cobalt-60, how deadly it is, and how amazingly simple it is to steal from Mexico.
So we can expect a dirty bomb any minute now.

Thanks MSM!!!!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?