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165 Pounds Of Fireworks Seized, Man Arrested In Oakland Crackdown

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – An Oakland man has been arrested and 165 pounds of illegal fireworks were seized following a crackdown by Oakland Police ahead of the July 4 holiday.

Police on Tuesday received several tips from people in the community of a person selling illegal fireworks in the area of 73rd and Garfield Avenues, near the Eastmont Town Center. During the investigation, community resource officers said they found a man who arranged a fireworks display in the back of a large utility truck.

Officers arrested the man, whose identity was not released. The truck was towed and the fireworks were confiscated and taken to a safe location.

"There were patrons that actually showed up at the truck wanting to buy fireworks. The officers arrested the male adult, who was in possession of 165 pounds of illegal fireworks," said Oakland police officer Kim Armstead.

Oakland Fireworks Crackdown
Illegal fireworks seized in East Oakland on June 22, 2021. (Oakland Police Department)

Police said the suspect is also linked to a traffic stop on May 23 where approximately 20 boxes of illegal fireworks were seized.

"You have to realize it's dry and can cause a lot of fires -- we don't have the resources in a drought. People need to wake up. It's gonna set other people's homes on fire, you know, cause problems. They just need to stop," said Oakland resident Tony Wallace.

Authorities throughout the Bay Area have stepped up enforcement against illegal fireworks, with the 4th of July looming and amid record dry conditions due to the drought. Officials in neighboring Contra Costa County said they have seized about 300 pounds of fireworks following multiple operations over a 30-day span.

In Oakland, fines for being caught with so-called "safe and sane" fireworks can range up to $1,000. People with "large quantities" of fireworks can receive penalties from $5,000  to $10,000 and  face possible imprisonment.

Locals say a constant detonation of fireworks lately has become the soundtrack of the night.

"After a while it takes its toll -- after midnight and well into the early morning -- then it becomes a real problem," said Paul Garrison. With the July 4 weekend approaching, residents kept awake say it's not just the noise that interrupts their sleep now.

"There's a fire danger now so we're in a very different space because of the drought. It's probably prudent to kind of crack down at this point," Garrison said.

The Oakland Fire Department has set up firework collection barrels at several stations. Collection sites are located at Station 1 on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Station 3 on 14th Street, Station 4 on International Boulevard, Station 5 on 34th Street, Station 18 on Bancroft Avenue and Station 20 on 98th Avenue.

Police have a set up an illegal fireworks tip line which can be reached at 510-777-8814.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. KPIX 5's Andria Borba contributed to this report


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