Police have popped a neighborhood merchant allegedly caught selling fireworks out of his Third Avenue bodega.
Roland Springer, 37, a resident of Bergen Street, allegedly had explosives hidden in the back of his store near 13th Street as well as warehoused in his Prospect Heights apartment, where boxes upon boxes were found jammed into a back bedroom, police said.
Sources said that the more dangerous fireworks included mortar−like shells, rocket launchers, bandoleers and one menacing−looking propelled explosive called “Felonious Assault.”
It’s alleged that Springer, who has been charged with unlawful distribution of fireworks, bought the fireworks out of state.
Undercover officers reportedly purchased some fireworks from the store, but the investigation soon led them to his home, where more explosives were found, according to police.
“That’s where we hit the mother lode,” one source explained. “He had everything under the sun.”
The massive arrest, which was organized out of the 76th Precinct in Carroll Gardens, comes as cops throughout Brooklyn South are warning residents about the dangers of illegal fireworks.
Police said that if a fire had broken out in Springer’s home and the fireworks ignited, the damage to his apartment as well as several of his neighbors could have been catastrophic. Several people could have been killed, they said.
Residents are being put on notice that if they are caught possessing or using fireworks as the Fourth of July approaches, they will be arrested and face stiff fines of $750 or more.
“We take fireworks very seriously,” explained Captain Kenneth Corey of the 76th Precinct. “They’re very dangerous. People wind up in the emergency room every year. That’s why we have a zero tolerance policy for illegal fireworks. They should be left to the professionals.”
“We want to keep the fireworks out of the community so everyone can have a safer and more enjoyable Fourth,” he said.
Residents who see fireworks being lit in the neighborhood are urged to call 911. Anyone with information about illegal fireworks being stored in the neighborhood should call 311.