Madera Police Department
About $10,000 worth of illegal fireworks confiscated by the Madera Police Department in sting operations are packed on shelves and on floors in storage.
The 4th of July was not happy for some residents who thought they could get away with shooting off illegal fireworks.
That’s because they thought they could beat the Madera Police crackdown on banned fireworks.
“Numerous tickets have been issued tonight,” said police Sgt. Josiah Arnold, who was part of a team patrolling the city to discourage use of the illegal fireworks that pose danger to the public.
Arnold said there were still plenty of calls about neighbors setting off banned fireworks, but perhaps not as many as last year.
On Thursday morning, he said numerous tickets — perhaps as many as 50 — had been issued the night before. But the fireworks patrol also netted an armed robbery suspect who had robbed the owner of a food cart. The suspect in that case was carrying a knife. They also arrested two Norteno gang members who were carrying guns. They pulled over two DUI suspects and several people with drugs.
“People do some pretty dumb stuff” on the 4th, Arnold said, but there have been some improvements. Last year, we had five fires that were caused by fireworks. So far this year, we haven’t had any.
He said the fireworks patrol would be a multi-year commitment with serious penalties.
“The minimum fine is $500,” he said. “And it ranges up from there to $1,000. The crime starts as a misdemeanor, but can turn into a felony, for which people can do prison time.”
A lot of illegal fireworks were confiscated, probably a total of $10,000 worth in street value.
He said the enforcement effort started out with “doing stings on people who sell fireworks. We also do stings on people who buy fireworks.”