“Bad Karma” Made Woman Vandalize Lab

Investigators say that a disgruntled ex-employee destroyed $500,000 worth of protein samples at SLAC


A former employee of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center was arrested yesterday for allegedly destroying $500,000 worth of protein crystal samples at the lab.

Palo Alto resident Silvya Oommachen, 32, is accused of removing hundreds of samples from cryogenic containers and leaving them on a lab table. Left at room temperature, the samples were ruined.

Investigators found three notes with smiley faces and the words “Performed by X Black" at the scene. Oommachen later identified “X Black” as her alter ego.

When asked to account for her act, Ommachen allegedly claimed she felt "bad karma" associated with her job at the lab, and that she believed the lab was not being environmentally responsible by keeping so many protein samples in storage.

Oommachen faces federal court in San Francisco tomorrow.

Bay City News

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