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The State

Reward Offered in Theft of 700 Pounds of Dynamite From Mining Company

June 02, 2002|HECTOR BECERRA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A $5,000 federal reward was offered Saturday for information leading to the recovery of 700 pounds of dynamite and other explosives stolen from a mining company in Northern California, authorities said.

The theft in Scott Bar in Siskiyou County, about 10 miles from the Oregon border, could have occurred between late April and mid-May, said Special Agent John Torres of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

On May 18, owners of the Casci Mining Co. discovered the explosives missing from a storage locker. They had last checked on the materials the month before, Torres said.

"Someone breached the locks using sophisticated means," he said.

The reason behind the theft was not known, Torres said. "That's what makes it disconcerting," he said.

Most of the explosives stolen consisted of dynamite, but about 20% was det cord, a kind of rope-like explosive that can be wrapped around things to blow them up, Torres said.

Most, but not all, of the contents in the storage locker were taken, he said.

"We're putting the full force of the ATF behind this," he said.

Investigators have no suspects, and are "looking at all angles," including whether the theft was an inside job, he said.

"Someone knows something," Torres said. "Although it may seem irrelevant, every lead helps."

Last week, the ATF sent a notice to all federal explosive licensees to be extra vigilant regarding the possible use of explosives in terrorist activities.

The agency warned about selling explosives to anyone who does not appear to have a "legitimate need for explosives."

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the ATF's Sacramento office at (916) 498-5100 or (888) ATF-BOMB.

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