PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Pittsburgh Police have been investigating the theft of chemicals from a laboratory at the Community College of Allegheny County.
Police and school officials aren’t saying what kind of chemicals were stolen, only that is appears someone entered the lab and improperly mixed some chemicals before also taking some sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning.
That’s when an employee of the school’s North Side campus noticed a door to the lab was propped open.
When school officials investigated, an inventory determined some chemicals were missing.
City Public Safety Spokeswoman Sonya Toler says police continued to work with school officials to determine which chemicals are missing and who might have taken them. However, sources close to the investigation say there are at least three missing chemicals.
According to a police report obtained by KDKA, the three chemicals missing or stolen are hydrogen peroxide, sulfuric acid and acetone. All three, experts say, can be combined to make a homemade bomb.
The missing chemicals would seem to be a threat to public gathering during the upcoming weekend, with the Regatta, Fourth of July fireworks and Pirates game.
But sources also note that the three chemicals could be used to make methamphetamine. And while they could be used to make a dangerous drug, it would pose no immediate threat to the public.
However, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to converge on Pittsburgh this weekend for the annual 4th of July celebration, officials are on high alert.
Acting Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar told a late afternoon news conference that, “the event will be safe, and people should come to town to enjoy themselves.”
Bucar says the city has received no specific threats regarding the burglary and weekend events.
There will be increased security visible around here over the weekend, but Bucar says that was pre-planned before the chemical theft.
Bucar said “I’m taking credit for that, based on experience with my work in the FBI’s NYC office.”
Sources say after the burglary this week, local police contacted the FBI terrorism task force, and the FBI crime lab.
The school has also tightened security rules and has been requiring employees and students to show school identification upon request.
According to a statement from CCAC, the following safety measures have been put into place:
-All CCAC employees and students accessing any CCAC building are required to have a valid CCAC ID, and to show it upon request.
-Visitors must sign-in at the CCAC Allegheny Campus Security station located in the Physical Education Building on Legacy Way.
-Individuals seeking admission into the K. Leroy Science Center must show proper ID.
-CCAC is operating a vigilant security presence at the Allegheny Campus.
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