Hunters Discover 185 Pounds Of Stolen Explosives

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A pair of turkey hunters found the stolen explosives in a wooded area near SW 50th and Fulton Road.

"I think first, they initially thought it was some kind of drug. Being unsure, they called law enforcement," said Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet.

The hunters were walking back to their home around 9 p.m. on Memorial Day, when they stumbled across some white tubes. Federal authorities later confirmed the white tubes were the stolen explosives from the 2008 theft.

"You really had to be on foot in the grass to really see it. I'm sure that it had been there the whole time. I think after they had stolen it, that's where they had dumped it," said Herzet.

The 185 pounds of dynamite was stolen from the Martin Marietta facility near Augusta, during a weekend in September of 2008.

"We still had this case in the back of our mind. That's a lot of explosives. It relieves me, for the fact, knowing where those explosives are now and that no one was hurt," said Herzet.

Authorities said the thieves took five cases, each with eight sticks of dynamite or chubs, that weighed 37 pounds. The cases had disintegrated but the chubs remained.

"One chub alone, which was three inches in diameter and 16 inches long, would be large enough to blow a car up," said Herzet.

Herzet said the explosives did not have blasting caps to detonate the dynamite.

Residents in Butler County were glad to know that the 40 chubs were in the hands of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

"Still is today an active working case. We still don't have in custody who done that. We would like to arrest that person," said Herzet.

There is a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.

If you have any information about the theft, call the Butler County Sheriff's Office at 316-322-4254, ATF at 1-888-283-2662, or 9-1-1.

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Officials say they have recovered 185 pounds of explosives that were stolen from a Kansas company nearly four years ago. The explosives were taken from a Martin Marietta facility in Butler County in September of 2008.

Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet says two turkey hunters discovered the explosives in a field near Towanda on Monday. He says the recovered explosives, which were to be used for the company's gravel-mining operations, did not have detonators.

Martin Marietta spokeswoman Dana Guzzo says all of the missing explosives have been accounted for and the company is pleased they have finally been located. She says the company cooperated fully with the investigation.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokeswoman Trista Frederick says their agency assisted the Butler County Sheriff's Department with the recovery. She says the explosives are now in ATF custody and the investigation is ongoing. Frederick says anyone with information about the case is asked to contact local law enforcement.

KAKE's Lily Wu will have more on the story tonight on KAKE News at 10.

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