Police announced the recovery during the weekend of stolen medicine and chemicals that included a cannister of cyanide capable of killing 125 people. The dangerous stash was stolen along with the delivery van carrying it last month, and found only after a wild car chase Friday night.
The drama began February 20, when police reported the theft of the delivery van and its cargo that included the medicine and potassium cyanide, which had been ordered by researchers at the University of Oslo. It all remained missing until Friday evening, when police observed a silver-grey Audi driving at high speed in Akershus, northeast of Oslo.
The driver of the speeding Audi initially ignored the police’s blue lights but eventually pulled over, reported newspaper VG, only to reverse into the patrol car and take off again. Then the chase was on, eventually involving more police cars, a police helicopter and police dogs before it ended at a farm in Kjærstad in Gjedrum, not far from Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen.
“Neither of the two men in the car had any ties to the place,” police operations leader Terje Marstad told state broadcaster NRK. One of the two men, both from Poland, tried to hide in an abandoned manure cellar under a barn, but police dogs found him. In the Audi were several boxes full of medicine, including the cyanide addressed for delivery to the University of Oslo. It was intact. The van from which all the medicine and cyanide was stolen, while parked at the Lørenskog train station, remained missing.
The two men from Poland, both of whom have criminal records, were undergoing questioning during the weekend. They’re charged with grand theft and faced custody hearings on Monday.
The medicine and chemicals had been sent by the German pharmaceutical firm Merck, which expressed gratitude to the police for finding the stolen shipment. Questions remained over how well the shipment had been secured, given the dangerous nature of its contents. The law calls for such products to be under surveillance at all times.