Berlin (CNN)Authorities are investigating the deaths of 21 people at a company in Germany after an employee was allegedly caught poisoning a colleague's lunch.
German police investigate 21 deaths linked to poisoned sandwiches
A 56-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder at a company in the northwestern town of Schloss Holte-Stukenbrock, said the police in nearby Bielefeld, where the man lives. Police did not name the suspect.
He was seen on a security camera opening a co-worker's lunchbox and putting a substance on the sandwich inside, the police said in a statement.
A small bottle of "powdery substance" was found in the suspect's bag after he was taken into custody, police said.
The sandwich's owner had raised the alarm earlier after discovering an unknown substance smeared on his lunch. He informed his company's management, who in turn notified police.
Testing by the regional criminal office of North Rhine-Westphalia indicated the substance on the bread was toxic lead acetate, and there was enough to cause severe organ damage, authorities said.
The accused was brought before a judge on May 17, who issued an arrest warrant for attempted murder.
Fire brigade specialists found mercury, lead and cadmium in the suspect's apartment in Bielefeld. Police said the man "has long tried to produce toxic substances, including heavy metal compounds," based on substances found in his home.