The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Wednesday that it is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for stealing 559 pounds of explosives last month near Red Lodge.
The theft happened sometime in April when thieves broke into a U.S. Forest Service storage bunker about two miles south of Red Lodge, said Brad Beyersdorf, an ATF spokesman.
Items stolen included emulsion-type explosives, explosive cast boosters and detonating cord.
“The theft of explosives is a top investigative priority for ATF,” said Ken Bray, the agency’s resident agent in charge in Montana. “We are asking for the public’s help in our effort to apprehend and convict those responsible. We are confident that someone can help identify a suspect and we encourage them to call us.”
The Forest Services uses explosives to help with clearing rock slides, trail construction and restoration, culvert removal and carcass disposal when public safety could conflict with bear activity, said Mariah Leuschen, a spokeswoman for the Custer and Gallatin national forests.
Stealing explosives and possession of stolen explosives is a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Anyone with information is asked to call the ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662) or locally in Billings at 406-657-9700. People also can call the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office at 406-446-1234.