Employees Recall Selling Fireworks to Bombing Suspect
SEABROOK, N.H. (CNN) — It turns out one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombing suspects bought high-powered fireworks in New Hampshire earlier this year.
Phantom Fireworks in Seabrook confirms Tamerlan Tsarnaev got $400 worth of mortars at their store back in February.
However, a company official says those mortars didn’t have enough black powder to be the sole source for the explosives used in the bombings.
At Phantom Fireworks in Seabrook, assistant manager Megan Kearns remembers selling fireworks to Tamerlan Tsarnaev in early February. Not that he was particularly memorable, she says they only had a few customers that day.
“Pretty much the only thing that was remarkable about him was that he had a Russian accent, which we don’t get too many people in here who have Russian accents,” says Kearns.
Kearns said nothing about Tsarnaev seemed suspicious. “He just wanted the biggest, loudest stuff we have in the store — pretty much run of the mill questions we get asked by every customer who walks through the door,” she adds.
“I’d say at least 75 percent of our customers ask what’s your loudest and most powerful, because they obviously want height and they want color and the they want noise,” Kearns adds.
Tsarnaev decided to go with the “Lock and Load” — a large reloadable mortar kit with a firing tube and 24 shells. He was able to get two of the $200 items by taking advantage of a buy one get one free promotion.
“It’s one of our top-selling products since reloadables were legalized in New Hampshire in 2011.”
After the marathon bombing suspects were identified last week, Phantom’s corporate headquarters ran their names through its database, discovered the February purchase and reported it to the FBI. Company officials believe Tsarnaev was trying to obtain powder for his own use, but they said it would have been a lot of work for relatively little explosive material.
“If he were successful in deconstructing the entire product, both kits, he maybe would have had a pound and a quarter to a pound and a half, maximum, of black powder and that would not have been sufficient to fuel all the bombs that he made,” notes William Weimer, Vice President of Phantom Fireworks in a phone interview.
The FBI said it has recovered a large pyrotechnic from the dorm room of the younger Tsarnaev brother at UMass Dartmouth. It’s not clear if that may have been one of the kits purchased in New Hampshire.