A German man has been caught on camera tampering with a colleague's lunch, launching a full investigation into the suspicious deaths of tens of employees at his company over the last 18 years. The man, who remains unnamed, was apparently recorded poisoning his co-workers packed lunch from home, and was promptly arrested last week in the town of Schloss Holte-Stukenbrock. The man, who is 56, apparently works at a company called ARI Armaturen, which makes industrial components such as valves. At the company, more than 20 employees have passed away before retirement since 2000 and most of these have been from heart attacks - a common reaction to heavy metal poisoning, which is what the man was accused of.
Security cameras at the workplace had captured the man opening a colleague's lunchbox and smearing a powdery substance inside his sandwich. The colleague then noticed something odd smeared inside his food and notified his managers, who then called the police where the video footage was reviewed. The man who tampered with the food was quickly arrested and a small bottle containing the mystery powder was found in his bag and investigated, where it became obvious it was toxic lead acetate, a highly toxic and nearly tasteless substance in great enough quantities to cause severe organ damage. The fire brigade also found mercury, lead and cadmium in the suspect’s apartment in Bielefeld. Police said the man had “long tried to produce toxic substances, including heavy metal compounds” using substances in his own home.
The investigation has been widened after it became clear that there were several unexplainable illnesses at the company over the last 18 years. Two employees are currently in a coma and another is on dialysis, in addition to a further 21 employees all dying before retirement in similar statistically strange circumstances. Police said: “There were a strikingly high number of heart attacks and cancers among the death cases in the company" and heavy metal poisoning could account for many of the illnesses that lead to the deaths. No motive has been uncovered yet as the suspect is refusing to answer questions. The police are planning on questioning family members and doctors who treated the sick employees, and conducting a full review of medical records. A 15-member murder team is considering exhuming the bodies as part of the probe, Deutsche Welle reported.