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Nuclear device stolen in North Vancouver recovered in Surrey

The device can emit gamma radiation if not properly handled.

Surrey RCMP have recovered a piece of industrial equipment stolen from North Vancouver that contained potentially dangerous radioactive material.

North Vancouver RCMP issued a warning last week after someone stole a 2006 Mazda 6 from a Marine Drive parkade on Feb. 13, likely not knowing what was inside.

The nuclear soil moisture density gauge, which is used in construction and mining, can emit a small amount of gamma radiation. If not properly contained and handled, the radiation can damage human cells within 24 hours.

On Sunday afternoon, Surrey RCMP responded to a report of a suspicious item in a parking lot near 176th Street and 64th Avenue. Surrey Fire Services’ hazmat team collected the device, and it has since been returned to its rightful owner.

North Vancouver RCMP Const. Mansoor Sahak said the device was found in its original case and that it doesn’t appear to have been compromised.

“We’re just glad that the person who took it was not harmed, at least not that we are aware of, and that it didn’t cause any further danger to the public,” he said.

As of Tuesday, the stolen vehicle was still missing and the investigation into the theft remains active, Sahak said.