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Barrels of Cyanide Found in NYC

May 14, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ Twenty barrels of deadly potassium cyanide were found Saturday in a New York park, 10 days after they disappeared from a New Jersey warehouse.

An anonymous 911 call after noon reported the barrels were in plain view next to a baseball park in a Bronx neighborhood.

Police immediately evacuated about 75 families. Investigators wearing protective suits inspected the orange barrels to ensure they remained sealed, said Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

The barrels were removed about four hours later, and the families were allowed to return home.

The barrels were located after a trailer went missing May 4 from a warehouse in Linden, N.J. The shipping container with the drums of potassium cyanide was destined for Puerto Rico.

The FBI confiscated the barrels, but officials cautioned that the agency is involved because the crime is considered interstate theft, and not because they suspect terrorists.

``Obviously the person who stole it, since they were dumped this way, had no idea what they were taking,″ said Richard J. Sheirer, the director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management.

Potassium cyanide is used in electroplating, a process employed to make silverware and jewelry, and can be fatal to anyone who drinks or inhales it. The World Health Organization says potassium cyanide could be used by terrorists.

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