Suspects light up stolen fireworks, store owner catches them

CHELSEA, Ala. (WIAT) – Bob Blackerby has owned a fireworks store in Chelsea for the past 10 years.  He’s known the carry big, impressive fireworks.  The store is only open to the public for 4 weeks out of the year: right around New Years and Independence Day.  Blackerby takes appointments for other days for things like birthday parties and weddings.

However, on the 5th of July, when the store had already officially closed for the season, Blackerby got a call from a neighboring business.

“There were fireworks all scattered throughout the floor,” he explained.  “The back door of the building had been ripped off.  There were fireworks all throughout the yard.”

Blackerby found that in addition to the property damage–the crooks had torn the back door off to get inside–he was missing about $600 in merchandise.  Police came to the shop and he filed a report, but when Blackerby asked if there was really anything that they could do, he said the police were skeptical.

Skeptical, until the next night.  It was around 9:30 pm when Blackerby heard the familiar sound of large fireworks going off.

“Finally decided I’d just get up and go check it out,” he said.

He rode up to the firework store, and from two blocks away, he could actually see the fireworks that were being set as they exploded in the sky.  Blackerby followed the lights and sounds until he was in front of the suspects and his stolen property.

“I confronted the guys that had taken it and I told them, you just hang tight.  The sheriff will be here in a minute.”

Blackerby said that he never intended to catch the people who robbed him, and he was shocked that they would set the fireworks off so close to the store, and so soon after they were taken.

“I just wanted to see justice served,” he said.  “I hate to see people steal stuff from people and not anything ever happen about it.”

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