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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Police Baffled by Blood Theft

June 25, 1992
United Press International (06/25/92)

Los Angeles--Health officials were baffled on Thursday as to what the possible motive would be for someone to steal some 2,000 vials of blood, some of which were infected with HIV- or hepatitis. The vials were taken from a storage area at the California Automated Laboratories in Boyle Heights between 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and 4 p.m. Wednesday. The vials were inside two 40-gallon drums clearly labeled in English and Spanish as hazardous medical waste. Detective Gilbert Escontrias said, "It appears that someone did not know or did not care (about the danger) because it was marked on a white label with red lettering, 'infectious waste.'" He added, "At this point, from what we can gather, there is no use we can see, medical or otherwise, for someone to take the blood." The vials, are small glass tubes with rubber caps, the kind frequently used to collect samples from patients or blood donors for testing. Escontrias issued a warning about the contents of the vials, and advised anyone who comes in contact with the vials to call the police immediately because it is undetermined what condition the contents are in. In addition, he said, "It's most important these vials are recovered in their original condition."