Tech. Science. Culture.
We may earn a commission from links on this page

If Anyone's Seen This Mildly Radioactive Device, Let the Cops Know. Also, Don't Touch It.

If you happen to catch sight of this missing nuclear gauge containing radioactive material, best to just back away slowly and then notify law enforcement.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled If Anyone's Seen This Mildly Radioactive Device, Let the Cops Know. Also, Don't Touch It.
Screenshot: Lucas Ropek/Troxler Electronic Laboratories/YouTube

Authorities in Pennsylvania are on the lookout for a missing nuclear gauge, the likes of which disappeared from a local worksite and contains radioactive material. Should you somehow stumble upon it, you’re strongly encouraged to notify the police. But also, stay the hell away from it.

Nuclear gauges are commonly used in civil engineering and construction projects as a means of measuring soil density and water content, as well as for other purposes, so says the USDA’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Coordination Radiation Safety Division. For many of these activities, the device emits a tiny amount of radiation—the likes of which is contained within a sealed internal pocket. If the device is used correctly by a trained professional, it poses no threat. However, if a gauge is broken or damaged, authorities have warned that it can pose health risks.

Comfortingly, they actually tend to go missing—or are stolenquite a bit. In this case, the gauge that disappeared belongs to CMT Laboratories, a civil engineering firm based in Pennsylvania. It was last seen on Wednesday when the gauge’s “authorized user” accidentally left it at a worksite in Logan Township, Penn. after forgetting to put it back in its case, said the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Now, apparently, nobody can find it, and the company is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to its return.


The item, which is a Troxler Model 3440, is yellow, about the size of a shoebox, and comes equipped with a keypad and a metal rod, authorities said.

“It is critical for anyone who has information about the lost nuclear gauge to contact state police immediately,” said DEP Bureau of Radiation Protection Director David Allard, via Twitter. “As long as the device is not tampered with or damaged, it presents no hazard to public safety.”


I guess it’s a good thing that lost or stolen items are rarely ever tampered with or damaged. All kidding aside, if you somehow spot this thing lying around somewhere, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Pennsylvania State Police Lamar Barracks at 570-726-6000.