December 1, 2020

Nuclear tool reported stolen in Mississippi

Thieves stole a potentially piece of test equipment Friday from a state transportation department job site that contains radioactive material.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office reported the theft of a Troxler Nuclear Density Gauge from a Mississippi Department of Transportation work site on Highway 57.

The sheriff’s office said the gauges are common on job sites and contain only a small amount of radioactive material, which could pose a low level risk if released.

The gauge is contained in a 3-foot by 3-foot by 2-foot plastic case. If the container is found authorities say it should not be opened.

Any information about the theft should be reported to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at 228-769-3063, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898.

“It has a small rod in the middle of the machine that’s not exposed; it’s encased inside the machine,” said MDOT engineer Kelly Castleberry told WLOX TV station. “Once the machine is in place, the rod comes out and it measures the reflection of the particles of asphalt or dirt and tells you how compact that is.”

He estimated the device is worth a couple of thousand dollars. The gauge was one of several tools reported missing.