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Threat of Explosion Thwarted in Holly Springs

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HOLLY SPRINGS — Tuesday, authorities obtained a warrant for a Kenley man accused of disposing a bundle of dynamite found lying on a Holly Springs neighborhood street.

Police charged Tony Earl Hawley with a misdemeanor and the the improper storage of an explosive device in the Avent Acres neighborhood.

Hawley is the owner of Hawley Construction and was doing some work in the area. He claims that he was "set up".

The town's public safety chief tracked Hawley through lot numbers on the sticks of dynamite. Hawley knows about the warrant and is expected to turn himself in, although he failed to turn up Tuesday as planned.

With the threat of an explosion behind them, residents of Avent Acres were allowed to return to their homes just before 8 o'clock Monday night, as town officials turned their attention to finding out who left the dynamite laying around. They believe a careless contractor could be to blame.

It was a volatile situation. There were nine sticks of dynamite, two inches in diameter and 14 inches long, lying out in plain sight. The State Bureau of Investigation's bomb disposal unit was called in to defuse it.

"You cut the dynamite into small pieces, place it in a hole, put some straw down, pour kerosene on to help ignite it, simply ignite the dynamite and it burns," said Cecil Parker, public safety chief.

Rescuers say there was enough dynamite to damage or destroy half a dozen homes. Residents of the Hollyberry Lane cul-de-sac were evacuated as a precaution.

"I came home from work and the road was blocked and he said they had found dynamite behind one of the houses. And I said which one? Not mine," said resident Janet Ratka.

The dynamite was found behind a house that's up for sale. A potential buyer was walking the property line behind the house when he discovered it and called police. Neighbors believe it was left there by a contractor who recently put in a sewer line.

"They've been dynamiting for a long time, several months there's been dynamite out there," said resident David Reitmeyer.

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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