Dangerous fireworks still on the streets - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Dangerous fireworks still on the streets

Thieves hit two fireworks businesses over the weekend, and in one case, the fireworks that were taken have to potential to kill or maim. (Photo source: WLOX) Thieves hit two fireworks businesses over the weekend, and in one case, the fireworks that were taken have to potential to kill or maim. (Photo source: WLOX)
The latest break-in was at a fireworks stand in St. Martin. (Photo source: WLOX) The latest break-in was at a fireworks stand in St. Martin. (Photo source: WLOX)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Jackson County investigators feel that some thieves are playing with fire, and playing with their very lives, as well. They hit two fireworks businesses over the weekend, and in one case, the fireworks that were taken have to potential to kill or maim.

The latest break-in was at a fireworks stand in St. Martin. The items taken from there are for public use, bought by the millions every year. Even so, they can be trouble.

"All fireworks are dangerous in the wrong hands. We have stuff for kids and adults, but they are all dangerous if you don't pay attention to the rules and regulations on the sides of the packages," warned Robert Anderson, who is a fireworks retailer.

The earlier theft occurred at a commercial business off Peabody Road in Gulf Park Estates. Taken were mortar shells that look similar to small commercial ones, only much larger, and much more powerful, and potentially deadly.

Company officials agreed to talk without the company or its exact location being identified, for fear of copycat thefts.

"The ones that were taken actually have a little lip on them, what appears to be a fuse, but it's not a fuse. It's actually a quick match. And with a quick match, if you light it, it instantaneously explodes. So it's very, very dangerous," Hugh McWhorter explained.

Leonard Cooper Jr. is a licensed dealer, and has put on fireworks shows many times over the years. Whoever has the shells is playing a very risky game.

"They're playing with a federal firework. It's a class A firework. It's generated with it being placed in a stainless steel pipe and it's ignited by a computer, computer generated fireworks. It's very dangerous," Cooper said.

Sheriff's officials are continuing to investigate the thefts at both locations, along with help from ATF agents. But they also feel they have a pretty good idea about who may be doing it.

"We don't know if these two are related. We don't have enough information at this point," Sheriff Mike Ezell said. "We're investigating it. It looks like it could possibly be juveniles, we don't know that. But that's what we're looking at."

They're also looking to find the shells that could change someone's life in an instant.

The sheriff is asking anyone with information about the case to call his office. And if you happen to run across one of the missing shells, stay away from them and call 911.

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