A Los Angeles, Calif., metal shop is in serious trouble with the law after 10 tons of fireworks were seized from the owners, who were selling the explosives illegally.
The fireworks stash, worth an estimated $100,000, was discovered after the El Monte Police Department received a tip about the sales. The police raided a building in Pico Rivera at 2:30 p.m. on June 19.
The building, which was actually a trailer with a makeshift fireworks display, was traced back to the owners of Thomas Brothers Tube Bending. The owner and employee of the tube bending shop were taken into custody, according to Lt. Chris Williams.
Incredibly, the business was so blatant about selling fireworks that Williams reported, “Even as we were dismantling the displays, people were coming up to buy.”
This bust is one in a series of illegal fireworks seizures in the Los Angeles area. Earlier in June, El Monte police found 22 tons of fireworks in Gardena. Previously, in May, approximately $500,000 in fireworks (about 30 tons) were discovered in a warehouse in Monterey Park.
In another story that could easily fall into a “stupid criminal” news feature, police in Santa Ana discovered a garage full of fireworks on June 19 also thanks to, of all things, a Craigslist ad. That bust was worth about $5,000 to $10,000.
No connection is known, according to El Monte police, between the recent string of fireworks sales. Randy Harper, battalion chief with the Monterey Park Fire Department, says that criminal groups and drug dealers sometimes sell fireworks during the summer season for extra profit, trucking in fireworks from bordering states, which may account for some of the recent seizures.