Instrument containing radioactive material stolen

A moisture density gauge containing radioactive material was stolen from the bed of a white Ford pickup truck during an auto theft in Jackson on Wednesday, the state Department of Health announced today. The moisture density gauge was locked and secured in the bed of the stolen truck.

The moisture density gauge is a common device used by construction firms to determine the moisture content and/or density of soils. The gauge is yellow with a chrome handle and is approximately 10 inches wide and 15 inches long. The gauge is in a yellow case and is a Troxler model 3440, serial number 26434.

Radioactive material contained in the gauge remains safe when intact and shielded, but the material can pose a potential health threat if the device is damaged.

"The Mississippi State Department of Health is responsible for the licensure of facilities using radioactive materials, and has the matter under investigation," said Jim Craig, Director of the Office of Health Protection at the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH).

If found, stay away from the gauge and immediately notify your local police or sheriff’s department and the MSDH Division of Radiological Health at 601-987-6893. The licensee of the gauge is offering a reward for its return.