Poisoned bread rolls sent 25 employees of a German company to the hospital on Tuesday. The workers at Muller Technology found poisoned sandwiches left with thank you notes in two containers near the front door.
There was a sloppily scribbled signature, but employees didn’t agree about who signed off on the note — or even if the name read “Daniel” or “Paul.”
The poisoned bread buns looked similar to previous gifts shared by company co-workers. The poison rat flakes, dyed with a red tracer, had been concealed under cheese and sausage slices.
As a result, about 25 people had already tasted the poisoned gift before they discovered the rat poison. They were transported to a hospital for observation and held there, even though no one yet appeared sick, because there can be an up to 72 hour time lag between eating coumarin and becoming dangerously ill.
Another cowardly sneak poisoning has been much in the news this week. On Tuesday, the US Senate’s mail-sorting facility intercepted a letter that tested positive for traces of ricin addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). On Wednesday, the White House mail-screening unit found a similar letter sent to President Obama.
Both letters were mailed from Memphis, TN on April 8, and the authorities apparently had a suspect in their sights almost from the beginning. Another senator hinted that the suspect was a frequent writer to various public officials. On Wednesday evening, the FBI arrested Corinth, MS resident Paul Kevin Curtis at his home on suspicion of the crimes.
The testing lab will need time to confirm whether or not the letters held lethal amounts of the poison.
In Germany, Dr. Daniela Acquarone said that they’ll also need time. Some of the poisoned rolls have been shipped to a test lab in Berlin to see how much rat poison was actually involved.
“It is a question of quantity,” she explained to German newspaper Bild. A small amount of coumarin is tolerated well by people and is, in fact, sometimes given as an anti-clotting medication.
Further tests will tell whether or not the so-called thank you gift was meant to kill. Authorities are also trying to find out who poisoned the bread — and why.
[rat poison grains photo via Wikipedia Commons]
[German rat poison warning sign by Frank Vincentz via Wikipedia Commons]