Construction gauge containing radioactive materials stolen from vehicle in Thornton, officials say

Portable device could release radiation if damaged

THORNTON, Colo. - Authorities are warning that a portable gauge that contains radioactive material was stolen during a vehicle burglary in Thornton on Sunday.

The device, a Troxler model 3430 density gauge, uses radioactivity to test moisture density at construction sites, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Radiation Program.

The gauge, which contains two radioactive sources, is safe if it is intact and handled by properly trained people, state officials said. But the device could emit higher-than-normal levels of radiation and pose a health risk if it's damaged, officials said.

Martinez Associates LLC, a Denver construction materials testing firm, reported the gauge was stolen from a vehicle parked at an apartment complex at 8901 Grant St. in Thornton on Sunday evening, state officials said. The theft was reported to Thornton police and the state Radiation Program.

The gauge, which comes in a yellow plastic case, is a yellow metal box featuring a long rod-shaped handle with a grip, officials said. A radioactive warning label is attached to the handle and to the case. The top of the device features a keypad and electronic display.

Anyone who finds the device should call the state Radiation Program’s emergency number at 303-877-9757.

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