Two Mexican thieves that stole a truck after robbing the vehicle at gunpoint “made a fateful error” in their actions, according to New York Magazine. The truck that the thieves robbed actually contained cobalt-60, a radioactive material. Although the thieves dumped the cobalt-60 in a nearby field, which Mexican law enforcement found and blockaded in order to ensure a safe decontamination process, evidence exists that they opened the casing of the material, exposing themselves to the radiation.
According to the Washington Post, the carjackers are likely to die soon from their exposure to the radiation. They likely opened the casing of the containers out of curiosity, but that simple curiosity was enough to cause severe damages to the carjackers. Mexican officials have confirmed that no such danger remains to the public at large.
Mardonio Jimenez, an official from Mexico’s nuclear safety commission, suspected that the carjackers were not aware that they had stolen such a highly toxic substance.
“I believe, definitely, that the thieves did not know what they had. They were interested in the crane, in the vehicle,” Jiminez said, referring to the crane with which the truck was equipped.
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Although the thieves are still at large throughout Mexico, experts suggest that their exposure to the radioactive materials may end their lives before they are able to be caught.