Posted: May 4, 2013 7:05 PM by Angela Douglas - MTN News
Federal and local authorities are continuing their investigation into the theft of more than 550 pounds of high explosives near Red Lodge.
According to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, authorities do not yet have any suspects or persons of interest involved in the recent theft of more than 100 items from a U.S. Forest Service explosives bunker.
After interviewing U.S. Forest Service employees, Montana's ATF resident agent in charge, Ken Bray, said they have narrowed down the time frame of the offense to sometime between April 11 and April 30; the ATF was notified on April 30.
USFS bunkers are supposed to be checked every seven days according to U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Mariah Leuschen.
The bunker is located about two miles south of Red Lodge in a wooded area and is not accessible by the general public, unless on foot.
According to Bray, someone broke into the facility and stole 559 pounds of explosives sometime last month.
Law enforcement is asking for the public's help in learning who is responsible for stealing the explosives.
A $5,000 dollar reward is being offered to anyone with information that leads to an arrest.
Authorities can't be certain if the thief is "local," but Bray says they had knowledge of the area.
Authorities are asking the public to be vigilant and observant of their surroundings.
"At this point we simply don't know what the explosives are going to be used for and that's really our concern here," said Bray. "That's why we're reaching out to the public asking for tips, leads, anything at all that they've heard that's unusual, especially in the Red Lodge area."
The items stolen include various emulsion-type explosives; explosive cast boosters; and detonating cord. Sample photographs of the items that were stolen are shown above.
A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered to anyone who provides information that leads to the recovery of the explosives and to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the theft.
Stealing explosives and possession of stolen explosives is a federal crime that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Anyone with information is asked to call the ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662); the Billings ATF office at 406-657-9700; or the Carbon County Sheriff's Office at 406-446-1234.