Explosive heist: Thieves nab thousands of dollars of fireworks

It was a heist of explosive proportions, or at least explosive property.

Tuesday, July 01, Freebies Fireworks’ seasonal shop on US 33 in Dunlap was burglarized. The alleged thieves nabbed more than $3,000 worth of fireworks.

“The place was trashed, they took probably $3,000 to $4,000 worth of stuff,” said Freebies manager, Andrew Schauer.

Schauer locked up the store at around noon on Tuesday to take a lunch break. Instead of bringing his meal back to the shop, Schauer sat down at the restaurant. The building’s landlord noticed that the door to Freebies’ pop up shop was wide open and called the franchises manager to notify him of the issue.

When Schauer returned to the store he saw that the door was in fact wide open, apparently unlatched by a crowbar-like object.

Inside, Schauer said the place was a mess.

“They had a big black bag right here, there was stuff everywhere,” said Schauer pointing to the small firework display wall, “they definitely were in a rush because they crushed some of them and there was gunpowder all over the floor.”

The alleged thieves were in and out in around 30 minutes, which was enough time to get away with thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise.

According to Schauer the alleged burglar or burglars took mainly big-ticket items. “Cake” explosives are large, colorful displays with at least 16 rounds per box. Each box costs at least $45, but the ones the burglars stole were as much as $100.

“They knew what they were looking for,” said Schauer.

The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department to the alleged burglary, however there has been no arrests in this case. There are no surveillance videos in the shop or around the sides of the buildings so Schauer said they don’t know who it could have been.

However, he suspects the person or persons responsible may have been casing the store; breaking in as soon as he left for lunch.

Freebies Fireworks sent a second person, Benjamin Daly, to help watch over the store. He said he brought his licensed hand gun for the store’s protection, adding that from here on out the store will be manned 24/7.


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