Local News

Explosives Thefts Worry Officials

Posted March 28, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— A governmental agency wants to know who is responsible for stealing large amounts of explosive material from a local mining operation. And they wonder if that theft is related to the earlier disappearance of 350 pounds of dynamite from an Asheville company.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Piedmont Minerals of Hillsborough are offering rewards totaling $10,000 relating to the arrests of whoever took the materials. They are concerned that the ingredients could cause trouble in the wrong hands.

Lt. Ross Frederick of the Hillsborough Police Department says investigators are working round the clock to determine who has the materials.

Tips can be phoned to the Hillsborough Police Department at 919-732-9381 or to the ATF at 1-800-283-8477.

Piedmont Minerals is missing two 50-pound bags of an ammonium nitrate-fuel oil mixture and a small quantity of dynamite. In December more than 1,000 blasting caps were stolen from the same site.

Those are the main ingredients needed to make a bomb, according to ATF spokesman Earol Woodham. "It would be a significant explosion if both of those bags of ammonium nitrate blew up," Woodham said. "It could create massive destruction."