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Hatboro Man Accused Of Sending Ricin-Laced Birthday Card

diana-web Diana Rocco
Diana Rocco joined the Eyewitness News team as a general assign...
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By Diana Rocco

HATBORO, Pa., (CBS) — A ricin scare in the suburbs.

Police escort 19-year-old Nicholas Helman of Hatboro out into a waiting cruiser.

Helman was arrested Wednesday and charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to poison someone he was having problems with.

HAZMAT investigators and SWAT teams collected evidence from Helman’s Byberry Road home after police say he put ricin in a scratch and sniff birthday card on March 6th, and placed it in the victim’s Olive Street mailbox in Warminster.

“Warminster Township police officers responded to that residence immediately, and were able to intercept the correspondence from the mailbox,” Montgomery County Deputy District Attorney Antonetta Stancu said.

Helman allegedly told a co-worker what he had done the next day and that co-worker went to police who immediately contacted the victim.

Inside the envelope was a white powder, later testing positive for ricin.

“Lab results on the white powder that was found in that correspondence did prove to test positive for the toxin of ricin,” Stancu said.

Police say Helman admitted to sending it and used castor beans and sodium hydroxide, which he ordered on the internet, to make the deadly substance.

He allegedly told the co-worker it would kill whoever came in contact with it within four days. In a backpack, police say they found a white bottle of sodium hydroxide and a black notebook with a recipe for ricin.

On Wednesday, the area was evacuated and roads were closed for hours while police made the arrest.

“The individual has been taken into custody, and we do not believe there is any threat to public safety,” Hatboro Police Chief James Gardner said.

Police say Helman had also been sending this particular victim threatening messages since last November.

Helman is now facing attempted murder among other charges. He has been held without bail.

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