A vengeful Queens heating and air conditioning business owner got back at one of his nagging customers by lacing a home’s cooling units with deadly mercury poisoning, authorities said Wednesday.
So frustrated was Yuriy Kruk with a customer’s constant complaints that he took the drastic step of placing poisonous mercury in the air conditioning units of a Jamaica Estates home, sickening the residents.
Roman Pinkhasov hired Kruk’s A+ HVAC and Kitchen Corporation to do heating, ventilation and air conditioning work in his home.
Pinkhasov persistently complained that the AC unit on the second floor wasn’t working properly. In the summer of 2015, Kruk told the homeowner that the system could not be repaired and would need to be replaced, and installed a new unit in July 2015.
Not long after the installation, Pinkhasov wife, Olga, found drops of a silver substance on the floor. Pinkhasov found several more silver drops in the vents and where Kruk had been working in the house.
The family called 911 and firefighters from the fire department’s Hazardous Materials Unit responded and recovered additional mercury from the first floor vent and other parts of the AC units on both floors.
The Pinkhasovs and their son tested positive for mercury levels above acceptable norms. All three victims complained of various symptoms associated with mercury poisoning, including joint pain, headaches and lethargy.
“Every New Yorker should feel secure about the people they hire to work in their homes,” said state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. “In this case, the victims were merely asking for a repair of their heating and air conditioning units, but instead found themselves fighting for their lives.
Queens DA Richard Brown said continued exposure to mercury “could prove fatal over time.”
Kruk was charged with attempted assault and endangering public health, safety or the environment.
He was released on $10,000 bail.