June 4, 2018 By Tara Law
The owner of a HVAC company spiked a family’s air conditioning unit with mercury after they pestered him about problems with their system, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
Yuriy Kruk, 48, a Rego Park resident and the owner of A+ HVAC, was hired by Jamaica Estates homeowner Roman Pinkhasov to do heating and air conditioning repairs in his house in 2015.
Following the completion of the work, Pinkhasov repeatedly complained to Kruk that the air conditioning unit on the second floor of his home wasn’t working. Kruk told him that the unit could not be repaired and installed a new unit in July 2015.
The new unit, however, came with a dose of poisonous mercury, according to the District Attorney.
Pinkhasov’s wife, Olga Yurgaueva, grew suspicious after she found drops of a silver substance on the floor in August 2015, prosecutors said. Pinkhansov looked in the vents and saw more silver drops inside and in the area where Kruk had been working.
The couple called 911 and the fire department’s Hazardous Materials Unit came to the house. Firefighters discovered more mercury in the first floor vent and in parts of the air conditioners on both floors.
The couple and their son tested positive for elevated mercury levels. The three complained of mercury poisoning symptoms, including joint pain, headaches and lethargy, the DA’s office said.
“Exposure to the element could prove fatal over time and did make the residents sick,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “Fortunately a family member spotted the chemical commonly referred to as quicksilver and alerted police. The defendant will now answer in a court of law for his alleged scheme.”
Kruk has been slapped with six charges, including second-degree attempted assault and first- and fourth- degree endangering public health, safety or the environment.
Kruk was arraigned on May 30 and faces five to 15 years in prison. The judge set bail at $10,000 bond or $5,000 cash and ordered Kruk to return to court on July 30.