Saturday, February 6, 2016

Vial found in Hatboro had more ricin, police say

Nicholas Helman
Nicholas Helman

HATBORO Lab tests confirmed Tuesday that a chemical vial seized from beneath a gas manhole cover in Hatboro last week contained the poison ricin, according to the Bucks County District Attorney's Office.

Authorities believe the vial was an additional supply of the toxin allegedly used by Nicholas Helman, 19, in an attempted murder plot.

Helman was arrested last Wednesday, accused of placing ricin on a scratch-and-sniff birthday card and sending it to a man dating his ex-girlfriend earlier this month.

On Thursday, after Helman's arrest, authorities seized a vial from beneath a manhole cover near Helman's apartment, believing it to be an additional stash of the toxin allegedly manufactured by Helman.

That was tested in recent days at the same lab as the birthday card, according to Assistant District Attorney Antonetta Stancu. Results released Tuesday confirmed the sample was ricin, she said.

Stancu said the results did not reveal whether the newer sample had the same potency or chemical makeup as the ricin allegedly found on the card.

She also did not say how much ricin the vial allegedly contained.

Helman is being held at Bucks County Prison without bail, Stancu said.

He has a preliminary hearing in Warminster on Thursday.

- Chris Palmer

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