A German man was caught on camera poisoning his co-worker’s lunch — and police are investigating whether he’s responsible for 21 deaths over the past 18 years at the metal fittings company, according to a report.
The 56-year-old suspect was arrested in May after a colleague at the ARI Armaturen company in northwest Germany noticed a suspicious white powder on his food, Deutsche Welle reported.
The quick-thinking man alerted his superiors, who reviewed security footage showing the suspect sprinkling the substance on his co-worker’s lunch.
The powder was identified as lead acetate — a highly toxic, almost tasteless substance — prompting authorities to investigate the incident as an attempted murder.
“In the beginning we thought it was a misconceived prank between co-workers, and not a murder attempt,” company manager Tilo Blechinger told the outlet.
A police search of the suspect’s home uncovered substances used to make poison, including mercury, lead and cadmium, according to the report.
Police have expanded their investigation to include the deaths of 21 more employees who had died since 2000 — as well as one employee who is in a coma and another on dialysis, the outlet reported.
Many of the deceased died of cancer or heart attacks, which could be a result of heavy metal poisoning, according to German public broadcaster WDR.
A 15-member homicide squad is considering exhuming the bodies as part of the probe, Deutsche Welle reported.
The suspect, who had been working for the company for 38 years, declined to comment after his arrest.
Blechinger described him as “conspicuously inconspicuous.”
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