The theft of a radioactive device didn’t lead police to a nefarious plot, but rather to the counter of a pawn shop.

A special license is required to operate it, according to an information sheet by the American Portable Nuclear Gauge Association. The association notes that the device, in theory, could be used in making a “dirty bomb” that would dispense radiation into the air.

The device, known as a Troxler gauge, is used to measure soil density and is worth about $7,000, according to officials. It went missing from the trunk of a vehicle in front of a Douglas Street home around 7 a.m. Tuesday.

The trunk had been broken into, and chains securing the gauge had been cut, officials said.