Police seize illegal fireworks from liquor stores

Fireworks

Police confiscated firecrackers and other illegal fireworks from
two locally owned liquor stores Thursday, and the Santa Clara
County District Attorney’s Office will decide if charges will be
sought.
Police confiscated firecrackers and other illegal fireworks from two locally owned liquor stores Thursday, and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office will decide if charges will be sought.

Following an anonymous tip, officers seized the fireworks from two Paul’s Liquor and Market locations along Monterey Road – one near Third Street and the other near Farrell Avenue – Gilroy Police Department Sgt. Chad Gallacinao said.

“There were several packages of fireworks that did not have the state fire marshal’s seal on them and are illegal in California,” he said.

Officers found 20 bags of firecrackers at the Third Street location and one box of small explosives known as Cracker Bombs at the Farrell Avenue store, Gallacinao said.

Any possible charges would be misdemeanors for possessing and selling illegal fireworks, Gallacinao said. He said it wasn’t clear whether the charges would affect the stores’ ability to sell liquor.

“I don’t know. It could possibly depending on whether or not the DA files charges,” he said.

It also hasn’t been determined exactly who will be charged, Gallacinao said.

“Ultimately the business owner is responsible for what’s being sold in their store,” he said. “However, if the clerk had direct knowledge that contraband was being sold in the store, they could also face charges.”

He said he hadn’t heard of any other businesses caught selling illegal fireworks over the past few years.

Police issued 22 citations for illegal fireworks – two of them for criminal offenses – during the Fourth of July weekend, Gallacinao said.

The two criminal citations are misdemeanors and require court appearances. Defendants could face jail time and a $1,000 fine.

Gilroy is the only city in Santa Clara County where residents can legally buy and use fireworks, according to Gilroy Fire Marshal Jackie Bretschneider.

Residents can only use state-approved fireworks in nonrestricted areas in Gilroy between July 1 and July 4. Anything that flies in the air or explodes is illegal for residential use, Bretschneider said.

Police received 148 reports of illegal fireworks over the weekend, Gallacinao said. By comparison, police received just 111 reports last year and 106 in 2009, he said.

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