Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Chemist Charged with Stealing Cyanide

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Chemist Charged with Stealing Cyanide

Article excerpt

STATE

Chemist charged with stealing cyanide

A chemist stole potassium cyanide from his workplace to use as pest control at home and poured it down a suburban Philadelphia storm drain when he learned there was an investigation, prosecutors said.

Richard O'Rourke, 60, has been charged with risking a catastrophe, theft, receiving stolen property and recklessly endangering others. He's accused of taking about a cup of potassium cyanide from the Merck & Co. facility in Montgomery County in December.

Reached at his home Wednesday, Mr. O'Rourke said didn't want to comment. A message seeking comment from his lawyer wasn't returned.

A co-worker witnessed him pouring potassium cyanide into a beaker and then into a Nalgene water bottle on Dec. 14, then leaving the building, according to a release from District Attorney Kevin Steele. …

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