A terminated U.S. Army facility worker faces charges for holding what was thought to be a deadly form of uranium, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
Police detained 44-year-old Joseph Gibeau on Saturday after allegedly finding radioactive substances inside several lead-shielded containers at his home while responding to a domestic call, the newspaper reported on Tuesday. Two containers reportedly held a substance tentatively identified by authorities as uranium sulfate, a potentially lethal chemical.
“If you inhale a single particle, it’s fatal,” Sussex County First Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Mueller said. Authorities allegedly also seized a quantity of americium 241, a radioactive isotope placed in fire alarms.
The prosecutor said Gibeau may have taken the suspected uranium sulfate from Picatinny Arsenal, an Army facility in New Jersey where he was employed as a contractor until December.
“How [Gibeau] came to get this material and what he planned to do with it is still under investigation,” Mueller said.
The suspect currently faces two counts of child endangerment because the substance was “easily accessible” to his two children, ages 6 and 9, the prosecutor said during an initial court proceeding.
Martin Morrison, Gibeau’s lawyer, suggested the defendant obtained the substances to test a personal collection of radiation-measuring devices.
“Some people have a hobby of fixing cars; his hobby is Geiger counters,” Morrison said.
Terry Crummett, Gibeau’s former manager at the contract firm Chugach Industries, said “performance and behavioral issues” cost the defendant his information technical services position at Picatinny Arsenal.
The Army facility was once involved in nuclear-arms production, according to its website. However, uranium sulfate has no applications in producing atomic energy or weapons, the Star-Ledger reported.
What We're Following See More »
"A staffer at the National Security Council drafted a statement of condolence for President Donald Trump to make almost immediately after a deadly ambush of U.S. soldiers in Niger earlier this month. But Trump never issued the statement, and, some two weeks later, is now in hot water over his initial silence on the soldiers’ deaths and alleged controversial comments he made to a widow of one of the dead."
"Two US sailors based at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia have died of apparent drug overdoses in the last week, according to a US Navy public affairs officer." The submarine force and Kings Bay leadership have ordered more drug tests and are taking the events very seriously.