Former lab worker arrested for vandalism

July 28, 2009 1:30:55 PM PDT
Federal authorities have arrested a former employee of a national laboratory who they say slipped past security and destroyed a science project.The FBI says 32-year-old Silvya Oommachen was arrested and charged Monday with destroying government property.

Authorities say she acknowledged sneaking into the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park shortly after midnight July 18 and removing more than 4,000 cryogenically frozen crystal samples from cold storage.

The samples thawed over that weekend and were ruined. Lab officials estimate it will cost $500,000 in personnel expenses to replace the samples.

Authorities say Oommachen told investigators she did it because she felt overworked and mistreated.