Database of radiological incidents and related events--Johnston's Archive

Clinton radioactive source theft, 2007

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 17 October 2007

Date: 1 August 2007

Location: Clinton, Michigan, United States

Type of event: exposure related to theft of radioactive sources


David Hahn was arrested 1 August 2007 for stealing smoke detectors, apparently to collect radioactive sources from them. He was specifically charged with stealing at least 13 smoke detectors (containing americium-241) from several buildings in his apartment complex. At the time his face was covered with open sores reported related to exposure to radioactive materials. On 27 August he plead guilty. On 2 October he was sentenced to a 90-day jail term to be served in six months after he is assessed and treated by doctors at a Veterans Administration Hospital.

Hahn had, around 1993 at age 17, accumulated large amounts of commercial radioactive sources including americium, thorium, radium, and tritium, in an effort to build a homemade breeder reactor. The effort was accidentally discovered by local authorities; the radioactive materials were eventually disposed of by federal authorities.

Consequences: 1 injury?


© 2007 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 17 October 2007.
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