Nation

Chemist charged with taking cyanide, dumping in storm drain

WARRINGTON, Pa. — 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 is accused of taking about a cup of potassium cyanide from the Merck & Co. facility in Montgomery County in December.

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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