On four occasions, the man spread at least six pounds of liquid mercury – a highly toxic substance – in various locations in the Albany Medical Center, including in the cafeteria salad bar, in a toaster, in an ice-cream freezer, and on warm chicken tenders, according to court documents.
A hospital employee who consumed tainted chicken tenders was treated in the emergency room. “Whether others also ate or inhaled mercury is presently unknown,” court documents say.
Martin Kimber of Ruby, N.Y., was charged with two counts of stockpiling, possessing, and using a toxic chemical weapon – mercury – in his apparent dispute with the hospital.
He was also charged with tampering with a consumer product while acting with reckless disregard for the risk of death or bodily injury to others.
“Kimber’s action placed ... others in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury because he placed the mercury in food and food containment areas where cafeteria patrons would be directly exposed,” according to a federal agent’s sworn affidavit.
An emergency chemical-response team at the medical center identified and removed the mercury after each incident.
Mr. Kimber, a licensed pharmacist, faces up to life in prison on the two chemical-weapon counts, and up to 10 years in prison on the product-tampering count.
Kimber was arrested by federal agents on April 25 and is being held in pretrial detention without bond. A federal magistrate found he was a danger to the community.
He was initially charged by an Environmental Protection Agency investigator with unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste and knowing endangerment of public safety. Those charges were dropped upon return of the chemical-weapon indictment.
According to court documents, Kimber’s encounter with the hospital began in December 2010 when he twice received medical treatment. In January 2011, he contacted the facility to complain about the cost of his treatment. An administrator insisted the charges were appropriate.
Kimber is alleged to have returned to the medical center on March 28, 2011; April 11, 2011; June 23, 2011; and March 2, 2012, to spread mercury in public areas of the hospital. Mercury was found on those dates at various locations in the facility.
Investigators checked Kimber’s E-ZPass records for toll roads and discovered that on those same days, his E-ZPass unit had traveled from Ruby and exited at the ramp near the Albany Medical Center.
After the initial mercury incidents, hospital staff installed security cameras. On March 2, 2012, a security camera in the hospital cafeteria recorded a man later identified as Kimber walking to and stopping at each of the locations where mercury was discovered later that same day.
“He was observed reaching into the ice cream cooler while cupping something in his hand and engaging in a pouring action,” according to the affidavit. “He did not take anything from this or other food stations, nor did he stay to eat any food.”
Police posted a still photo from the video on local television news stations. Three individuals identified Kimber.
A search of his car and residence revealed canisters of mercury. Police also found 21 guns, about 50 knives, and a Nazi symbol containing a swastika on a wall in his home.
The affidavit says Kimber’s possession of the book reflects “sympathy for domestic terrorism.” Despite the allegation, there is no indication in court documents that Kimber actually read the book or embraced its content.