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686 Sticks of Dynamite Stolen at Mine Site

A federal agent fears what might be done with the explosives taken near Big Bear City.

May 10, 2006|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

A quarter-ton of dynamite and a 30-pound bag of potentially explosive ammonium nitrate were stolen last week from a small gold-mining operation on forestland near Big Bear City, authorities said Tuesday.

Gold Mountain Mine Co. reported that 686 dynamite sticks weighing about 500 pounds were stolen, along with the ammonium nitrate, fuel oil and mining equipment, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Ammonium nitrate and fuel oil can be combined to make an explosive material.

"The obvious concern is someone stole it, and what are they going to do with it?" said bureau spokesman John D'Angelo. "This is a quantity of explosives that could do significant damage. We need to recover these items."

It appears several people entered the site, which is accessed by a dirt road, between May 1 and May 3, D'Angelo said.

The intruders cut locks on the facility's security gate and a large metal storage case and stole everything inside, which was valued at $4,000, authorities said.

Gold Mountain, which has a federal license to store the explosives, was notified after someone found the gate's lock cut, said John A. Torres, an ATFE special agent in Los Angeles.

The site is mined by one man as a hobby, D'Angelo said.

The bureau is offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in connection with the theft. Anyone with information should call the bureau at (888) 283-2662.

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Times staff writer Ashley Powers contributed to this report.

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