Tear Gas Fail-Safe Turns Church Theft Into Hazmat Scene

| July 3, 2011

IRWIN, Pa. — Thieves who broke into a church building and stole thousands of dollars were likely sprayed with tear gas, leading to a hazmat situation, police said.

Channel 4 Action News' Jennifer Miele reported that Irwin police said more than $7,000 was stolen from Immaculate Conception Church's administration building.

Police told Miele the thieves got in through a basement door and rode the elevator to the business office to get to the safe, then brought the safe down to the basement in the elevator.

Police said the burglars knocked over a refrigerator when they were in the process of moving it so they could reach the safe.

Investigators originally believed the fridge was leaking Freon, because of a burning chemical smell, and they called in hazmat crews to deal with what they thought was a dangerous chemical.

It turned out that the smell was really tear gas that was part of a "booby trap" on the older-model safe.

Read more: http://www.wtae.com/news/28408038/detail.html#ixzz1R55lZNYA

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Category: Church Security

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