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Man Charged With Storing Cyanide

March 12, 2002

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CHICAGO (AP) _ A man was charged Monday with storing deadly powdered cyanide in an underground passage that is part of the city’s mass transit system.

Joseph Konopka allegedly took over a Chicago Transit Authority storage room under the downtown district and stored sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide there.

University of Illinois-Chicago police arrested Konopka and a juvenile Saturday night for allegedly trespassing, according to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court. They were found in a steam tunnel under the university’s education building, according to the FBI.

The FBI said Konopka was wanted on charges of fleeing to avoid prosecution in Wisconsin after failing to appear on charges in Door County alleging vandalism against utility systems.

When he was arrested, Konopka was carrying a vial containing a powder that was determined to be sodium cynanide-sodium carbonate, the FBI said.

The juvenile told FBI agents that Konopka had taken over an area within a CTA underground passageway to store chemicals, the FBI said.

Konopka was interviewed Saturday night and admitted that he had keys to various CTA substations, the FBI said. It quoted Konopka as saying he had been taking photos of various CTA underground tunnels and posting them on the Internet.

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