Four teens charged in Starmet CMI break-ins

  • The former Starmet CMI plant has been vacant since 2002 when it was ordered to be shut down by the government.

Four teens have been arrested and charged in connection with a series of burglaries and thefts from the old Starmet CMI facility.

Richard Smoak and Chandler Hutson, both 17, are charged with three counts of burglary and grand larceny. Two juveniles are charged with several counts of burglary and grand larceny as well as malicious injury to property, according to a press release from the Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office.

“There have been several recent break-ins at the Starmet facility in which a number of items were taken, including some very low-level radiation sources,” said Barnwell County Sheriff Ed Carroll. “All of the stolen items have been recovered and are in the possession of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.”

Starmet CMI operated as a uranium processing plant until it was closed in 2002. An environmental assessment and cleanup of the site was begun after the facility was ordered to close.

The arrests come after two “friskers” that detects radiation and a small safe containing discs used to calibrate radioactive equipment were stolen from the former plant, which is located at 365 Metal Drive in Barnwell County. The friskers were located by Lake Brown on Tuesday, May 9 while the safe and radiation calibration discs were recovered later, according to SC DHEC spokesman Robert Yanity, who said there was “no risk whatsoever” to the public or thieves from the stolen items.

“I want to thank our local, state and federal partners who continue to assist us in this ongoing investigation,” said Carroll.