2 arrested in theft of radioactive gauge during Thornton vehicle break-in

Police recovered gauge, abandoned near garbage bin

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. - Two people are charged with a stealing a portable gauge containing radioactive material during a vehicle break-in in Thornton earlier this month.

Alexander Saul King, 19, and Tasha Stapleton, 24, are charged with theft from a vehicle and trespass with intent to commit a crime, both felonies, Adams County district attorney spokeswoman Sue Lindsay said Wednesday. Both King and Stapleton have been released from jail after each posted a $2,500 bond.

The gauge was stolen Oct. 13 from a vehicle parked outside a Thornton apartment building, police said.

The Troxler model 3430 density gauge uses radioactivity to measure moisture and compaction in soil, asphalt and concrete on construction sites. State hazardous materials officials publicized the theft because the otherwise harmless device could emit higher-than-normal levels of radiation and pose a health risk if it were damaged.

Fortunately, within two days police recovered the gauge, which was found abandoned between a couple of trash bins in Commerce City.

Martinez Associates, LLC, a Denver construction materials testing firm, reported the gauge was stolen from an employee's vehicle.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Radiation Program is investigating whether the gauge theft shows Martinez Associates violated its radioactive materials license.

James Jarvis, who oversees Radiation Program regulations, said the state requires firms using portable devices containing radioactive material to have two separate locking mechanisms securing the device inside a vehicle. 


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