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LANL employee pleads no contest in theft of tools

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Richard Atencio was arrested last year for theft of tools, equipment; one tool was radioactive

By Sarah von Sternberg

A Los Alamos National Laboratory employee from Española pleaded no contest to larceny and tampering with evidence Monday in First Judicial Court in Santa Fe.
Richard Atencio, 52, was arrested April 4, 2016, for the theft of lab tools in September 2015. One of the tools was found to be radioactive.
All employees who may have had contact with the tools were tested and decontaminated without incident.
Police caught Atencio north of Tech Area 18 attempting to dump the items on the side of the road.  
Items recovered at the scene included a band saw valued at $5,493, and two dollies valued at $7,180.
Police were able to match the exact price of the items through records kept by LANL. Other stolen items included a box of pipe fittings, two pairs of work gloves, a bottle of liquid cleaning agent, a yellow roll of tape, a silver metal transport hitch, two rolls of white tape, blue and silver tow rope, and a green water hose.
One of the tools was found to be radioactive, which prompted all employees who may have had contact with the tools to be called to TA 54 to be tested.
According to the district attorney, all items were recovered and returned to LANL. Atencio was then charged with larceny and attempting to tamper with evidence.


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