MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It is the biggest week of the year for fireworks dealers, and it seems it may be the biggest week of the year for fireworks stealers.
Thieves wiped out a dealer in Somerset, Wisconsin. Bob Dewall’s trailer was packed until everything in it was stolen right before his busiest week. Officers believe the loot is being re-sold on the black market. Now, officers are giving an extra warning to anyone planning to make a fireworks purchase.
You’ve seen the signs.
It’s shop owner Bob Dewall’s busiest week of the year. He says his Apple Grand Prix fireworks shop in St. Croix County is lively this time of year. He says everyone’s in a good mood, except for him.
“They removed three of the security cameras, claimed up posts,” Dewall said. “Must’ve had a ladder with them.”
Thieves in the night just about cleaned out Dewall’s once full trailer. He says they took all the good stuff.
“They got 4 cases of black cat artillery shells, a massive amount of fire crackers,” he said.
Chief Deputy Scott L. Knudson of St. Croix County says they found evidence of forced entry, to the tune of about $8,500. Knudson says they worked a similar case in Hudson. He says it’s a hot time for the black market.
“I’m pretty sure that it is being sold out of the trunk of a car, social media, eBay, Kbids, some of the other ones,” Knudson said.
Dewall says it’s frustrating for legitimate dealers like him.
“It’s just been horrible, I’d like to quit working,” he said.
Chief Deputy Knudson says the resold fireworks are a danger to consumers.
“They could have been damaged, tampered with, who knows when they were stolen, how they were removed,” he said.
Dewall says thanks to the sympathy of a distributor, he is fully restocked. Around $14,000 in total damages – he plans to shell out more.
“As soon as they get some information, we’re paying a $5,000 reward,” Dewall said. “We’re sick and tired of these people coming out here and stealing stuff. They’ve got to be caught.”
The Sheriff’s office will doll at the reward to anyone with a good tip. You can call it in at 715-381-4336 around the clock.
The chief deputy also says to make sure you buy from a credible dealer, or things could get dangerous.