Thursday, December 25, 2014

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Police Department To Be On Lookout For People Bringing Fireworks Into Town

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TWC News: Police Department To Be On Lookout For People Bringing Fireworks Into Town
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Fireworks will light up the sky Thursday, and not just at the Macy's annual extravaganza. They'll also be on display in neighborhoods around the city, even though they're illegal without a permit, and the NYPD says it is on the lookout for people bringing them into town. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

Years ago, Chinatown was a hot spot for anyone looking to buy fireworks. Many stores had them under the counter, and people even sold them them on the street, out of bags and car trunks.

"A guy at work was like, 'Oh, just go to Chinatown. You'll find it right away,'" said Bob from Wisconsin.

So Bob, who now lives in Manhattan, thought he would be having an explosive Fourth of July weekend, but his search for fireworks ended up being a dud.

"All I really want is sparklers or bottle rockets or something. Something small," he said. "The best thing I found was these little snappy things, you throw them down and they snap, which I feel like you can get at Toys R Us."

I also hit several stores and came out empty handed. One merchant told me she wished she could find even just fire crackers or sparklers for her own kids.

At a few stores in Chinatown, I was able to find something that looks like a firework, but it's not. They're called party poppers, and they shoot colorful confetti into the air.

New York is only one of only four states that ban all fireworks outright. You can buy all sorts and sizes close by in Pennsylvania, but Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said don't try to bring them across the New York border.

"We do certain things to intercept large shipments of fireworks into New York City," he said.

On Wednesday afternoon, two people were arrested in the Bronx for trying to sell fireworks on Craigslist.

Earlier in the week, FDNY fire marshals confiscated fireworks and arrested two Long Island men on the Staten Island Expressway for having them in their SUV. The marshals watched them purchase the fireworks at a Pennsylvania store.

"We have one of those flashing signs, I believe in Staten Island, you know, 'Don't bring fireworks into New York City,'" Kelly said. "People have been doing this for years, and quite frankly, we have been arresting them for years."

The NYPD said more than 60 people have been arrested for having illegal fireworks leading up to the Fourth of July holiday.

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