Fireworks retailers told to be on look-out for suspicious buyers - WKRN News 2

Fireworks retailers told to be on look-out for suspicious buyers


As we get closer to Independence Day and all its festivities, a federal task force is warning fireworks retailers to be on the look-out for suspicious buyers.

The National Explosives Task Force has issued an advisory to fireworks retailers to look for customers who display suspicious activity when purchasing items.

The Task Force is asking retailers to keep a watchful eye out for customers who ask about how to take apart or modify the fireworks or who seek to purchase commercial-grade fireworks.

The advisory comes months after the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured more than 250 others.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his deceased brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are accused of detonating bombs made from pressure cookers, low-explosive powder and shrapnel.

According to a grand jury indictment, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, bought 48 mortars containing eight pounds of low-explosive powder from Phantom Fireworks in New Hampshire back in February.

"I knew immediately that they had done something with these fireworks that were not normal use, that they had taken them and cut them open and taking power and done things they weren't supposed to do," Titan Fireworks owner Aaron Blankenship said.

Blankenship, who has 15 fireworks stands across the state of Tennessee, told Nashville's News 2 in his 12 years in the business he has encountered some customers he felt were up to no good.

"Between three and five years ago when we had an influx of teenagers buying sparklers that were trying to do some modifications and those were red flags," he recalled.

Blankenship added, "There are red flags things that you would see that normally wouldn't be bought that make you kind of as retailer ask yourself, ‘Why did they buy that?' and that's the things we all have to careful of."

In the Volunteer State, unless a person has a Class B Power Technician license, fireworks can not be modified from their original state.

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