Accused Boston Marathon Bombers Bought Fireworks at Phantom Store

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The older of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects, who died in a shootout with police on Friday, bought two large pyrotechnics from a Phantom Fireworks location in New Hampshire.

The company is headquartered in Youngstown. Phantom Fireworks Vice President Bill Weimer said Tuesday the company immediately searched its sales records Thursday after the bombing suspects’ names were released.

When Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s name popped up for making a purchase, the company reached out to the FBI.

Records show Tsarnaev made the purchase Feb. 6. He bought two “Lock and Load” kits each containing 24 different mortar shells.

Massachusetts prohibits the sale of all pyrotechnics, so Tsarnaev drove the hour north of Boston, to the Phantom location just across the border in Seabrook, N.H.

Tsarnaev paid $200 cash for one kit, and got one free. It’s unclear if any powder, or other parts of these kits, were used in the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15.

Weimer spoke with the young lady working the checkout that day, who called it an “unremarkable sale.”

“Just didn’t view him as any different than any other customer, came in, and like 90 percent of the males that shop in our store, asked what’s the biggest, loudest thing you have,” Weimer said.

An FBI affidavit says the bombs contained “low-grade explosives.” Reports also say a large pyrotechnic device was found in younger brother Dzhokhar’s college dorm room.

“Well, you can see this is a pretty big box, so I would suspect if they saw this, they would describe it as a large pyrotechnic,” Weimer said.

But Weimer said removing the powder from the shells would be a very long, involved process.

“I assume that his intent was to mine the powder from the shells and what I presumed happened is that they tried to do that, found out that it wasn’t going to be very successful and they moved on to find some other fuel,” Weimer said. “I just don’t think they would have been able to mine enough powder from these products to produce that. And the other part is, we all saw the explosion and it was gray smoke. You saw no color, no fireworks effect, no whistle, no crackle.”

In 2010, the man who tried, and failed, to detonate a device in New York City’s Times Square had bought firecrackers from a Phantom Fireworks store in Pennsylvania.  Weimer said it’s the company and President Bruce Zoldan’s policy to cooperate with authorities as best they can.

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