TIME Crime

Man Arrested for Sending Scratch-n-Sniff Ricin to Romantic Rival

Ricin is derived from castor beans Photo Researchers—Getty Images/Photo Researchers RM

The intended victim -- who was the new boyfriend of the man's ex -- was warned before he could open the mail

Police arrested a man in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, for allegedly attempting to murder his ex-girlfriend’s new beau with the toxic poison ricin.

Nicolas Todd Helman, 19, is alleged to have admitted to a coworker that he rubbed ricin—a highly toxic substance found naturally in castor beans—on a scratch-n-sniff birthday card in an effort to poison the new boyfriend. The coworker called police., who were able to warn the boyfriend not to open the mail before he came in contact with the ricin.

Helman reportedly wanted to rekindle the relationship and is alleged to have sent threatening messages to the ex and the new boyfriend last November, for which he was charged with harassment and released on bail. Authorities say the card tested positive for ricin and authorities, including hazmat, SWAT team, police and FBI officials descended on Helman’s home Wednesday. He was arrested and charged with attempted murder.

[NBC Philadelphia]

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser