A soil-testing gauge, containing possibly dangerous radioactive isotopes, was stolen from a parked pickup truck in Sepulveda, authorities said Tuesday.
The gauge, used for measuring moisture in soil and asphalt, could be hazardous to health if it is broken into, said David Murray, radiation safety officer for Foundation Engineering Co., the Tarzana geo-consulting firm that owns the device.
It was stolen between Saturday evening and Monday morning, when a company employee who parked the white truck outside his residence near Nordhoff Street and Sepulveda Boulevard noticed it missing, Murray said.
The 1-foot-long device was locked in a 2-foot-long orange-colored box bearing the international radiation warning symbol, he said. The handle that activates the device and exposes its radioactive component had also been padlocked, but the key to its lock apparently was in the box and also stolen, Murray said. The gauge and its container weigh between 60 and 70 pounds, he said.