Over $23K in fireworks swiped from North Dakota explosives bunker

A $5,000 dollar reward is being offered for information that helps the investigation.

fireworks bayfrontS
Fireworks at Bayfront Park in Duluth last July 4th.
File photo

WAHPETON, N.D. — More than $23,000 worth of large-scale display fireworks were discovered stolen from a rural bunker owned by a federally licensed explosives operator in rural Richland County.

The stolen fireworks contain sensitive, powerful explosives that are a public safety risk if mishandled or detonated improperly, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

“There is a public safety concern given the potential for misuse of these explosives,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge William McCrary of the St. Paul field division.

Typically, such fireworks are only used for large-scale displays under the supervision of a trained pyrotechnician, the ATF said.

The theft was discovered in early January by Matrix Fireworks, located in Wahpeton, while they were inventorying their rural bunkers.


In an effort to find the fireworks or catch the thieves, the ATF and Richland County Sheriff's Office are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information.

“Our hope is that someone who knows about this theft will do the right thing and report what they know to avoid anyone being hurt from an accidental or nefarious explosives incident,” McCrary said.

The missing fireworks were assembled with packaging labeled “Matrix Fireworks,” according to the ATF.

Anyone with information about the theft can contact the ATF at 1-888-283-8477 or

The ATF asks that tips be as detailed as possible regarding the theft or location of the stolen fireworks.

Tips may be reported anonymously. However, reward seekers must provide their name and contact information. To be eligible for the reward, a tip must lead to the conviction of the thieves or recovery of the missing fireworks, the ATF said.

The ATF, Richland County Sheriff’s Office and North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation are investigating the case.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
What To Read Next
Get Local