Museum Planned to Destroy Deadly Poison. Thieves Got to It First

Safe containing curare vial is stolen in the Netherlands
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2018 10:03 AM CDT
Museum Planned to Destroy Deadly Poison. Thieves Got to It First
Curare is used to poison arrows in tribal hunting.   (Getty Images/grafxart8888)

Where's Indiana Jones when you need him? Authorities are trying to track down an ancient vial containing a deadly poison, stolen from the Dutch national museum of science and medicine this week. Thieves broke into an outbuilding at Leiden's Rijksmuseum Boerhaave and took a refrigerator-sized safe holding a small amount of money and a glass bottle of curare, used by South American tribes to poison arrows. "It was offered to us recently as part of a collection, but we decided we didn't want to have it" and were "going to have it destroyed safely," the museum director tells AFP.

As Wednesday's theft came before that could happen, authorities are warning anyone who comes across the dried-out poison, which resembles a black sugar cube, not to touch it because it's "very toxic and can be fatal." Curare, which comes from a climbing vine and acts as a neurotoxin that powers down the nervous system, is not only used in tribal hunting, but as a muscle relaxant during euthanasia in the Netherlands, per the NL Times. For now, it's not clear why the thieves went for the safe or if anything else was taken from the museum. "We are still investigating that" but "are first urgently looking for the poison," says a police rep. (Read more poison stories.)

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