The International Atomic Energy Agency announced on Wednesday that a truck carrying "extremely dangerous" radioactive material was stolen on a road in Tepojaco, Mexico. The truck was transporting radiotherapy equipment containing the radioactive isotope cobalt-60. The vehicle was taking the material from a hospital to a waste storage center. The IAEA released a statement saying, "At the time the truck was stolen, the source was properly shielded. However, the source could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding or if it was damaged."

The truck, a 2.5-ton Volkswagen with an integrated crane was stolen from a gas station on Monday near Mexico City. Officials have put out an alert in all six of the central Mexican states in an effort to find the stolen cobalt-60. The substance is used in radiation therapy and had been sealed in a lead container for transportation to the waste facility. A civil protection official in Veracruz State, Ricardo Maza spoke with Fox News and said the thieves were likely more interested in the truck than its cargo.

"It could be that whoever stole the truck had no idea what was inside," NBC quotes a federal official as saying. Unsure if the truck would be heading for the United States Mexican officials placed the Department of Homeland Security on notice. U.S law enforcement officers as well as Homeland Security agents are working with Mexican officials to locate the missing truck. The public has been made aware of the theft and should remember the material is not dangerous so long as it remains in its sealed container.

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