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Crypt Still Has Rats, Droppings

April 13, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

Rats and their droppings continue to turn up at a Los Angeles County coroner's crypt, which one worker attributes to an ongoing problem but the county says are merely leftover signs of a past infestation.

"To my knowledge, there have been no live rats found inside the crypt this week," said coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey. He acknowledged that dead rats have been found.

On Monday, the coroner's office confirmed staff complaints that rats had fed on a dozen corpses in its long-term storage crypt.

But officials assured the public that the problem was eradicated by an exterminator in February after droppings were found in the external refrigerated building.

A coroner's employee, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation, said Friday that rat droppings were found in the crypt again Thursday. "The rats are still there," the employee said.

Harvey said the long-term crypt was emptied and thoroughly scrubbed Wednesday. He also said workers had found a crack in the wall, which was quickly patched.

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