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Explosives Thefts Worry Officials

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Piedmont Minerals plant
HILLSBOROUGH — A governmental agency wants to know whois responsible for stealing large amounts of explosive material from alocal mining operation. And they wonder if that theft is related to theearlier disappearance of 350 pounds of dynamite from an Asheville company.

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

Lt. Ross Frederick of the Hillsborough Police Department saysinvestigators are working round the clock to determine who has thematerials.

Tips can be phoned to the Hillsborough Police Department at919-732-9381 or to the ATF at 1-800-283-8477.

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

Those arethe main ingredients needed to make a bomb, according to ATF spokesmanEarol Woodham. "It would be a significant explosion if both of those bagsof ammonium nitrate blew up," Woodham said. "It could create massivedestruction."

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