Man Allegedly Killed 21 Coworkers By Poisoning Their Lunches Over Two Decades

Here's a piece of tragic, real-life nightmare fuel. German police are looking into the deaths of 21 employees of ARI Armaturen, a metal-fitting firm, after closed-circuit TV footage showed another employee allegedly attempting to poison a co-worker's lunch. The earliest death dates back to 2000.

ABC News reports that concerns were raised after another of the firm's employees found an unknown white powder on his sandwich. He alerted a manager, police say, and the company then installed the CCTV camera. That's how they obtained footage of the suspect, who they're calling Klaus O, "opening his colleague's lunch box and sprinkling something on the sandwiches during lunch breaks" on two separate occasions.

Authorities then searched Klaus O's home and found "mercury, quicksilver, lead and cadmium." Afterward, on May 16, he was arrested. Two days later, a criminal police laboratory test showed that the sandwich powder "was lead acetate, a poison that could have caused severe organ damage"

After police widened their investigation into deaths at the company, they found 21 that could be considered suspicious. The deaths were caused mostly by cancer or heart attacks, "conditions that could have been caused by heavy metal poisoning." They're now beginning to question relatives of the employees as well as their doctors, and say that bodies may need to be exhumed to be tested for traces of poisons.

It seems likely that the number of employees affected could be greater than 21:

Separately, an ARI Armaturen employee is in a coma while another is on permanent dialysis, according to a police spokesman. Authorities suspect they may have been poisoned, too.

The manager of ARI Armaturen said that Klaus O worked for the firm for 38 years, calling him "conspicuously inconspicuous." A police spokesman told ABC that the suspect has" remained silent about the allegations," adding, "And he is not a chemist."