“We anticipated this being a much busier season than ever,” Detective Paul Makuc with the Connecticut State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit said.
State police hold a container with explosive evidence considered so dangerous that they keep it under lock and key.
“I think there’s a fair amount of word-of-mouth sales and some of it's online, some of its through lists that are generated year to year,” Makuc said.
Makuc is responsible for seizing illegal fireworks. He says Connecticut usually has close to 75 fireworks shows around the Fourth of July holiday but because of COVID-19 this year there are only around half dozen, leaving people to take the fireworks into their own hands.
“There is a market out there were people set up a shop or container like this in a business warehouse or their own private homes and they’ll sell quantities of these fireworks,” Makuc said.
Just within the past week, there have been major seizures in Meriden and Hartford. Makuc says many police departments are now fielding hundreds of nightly illegal fireworks calls, some even dedicating patrols to respond.
“We’ll have folks that will come in looking for things they see going off in their neighborhoods,” Kent McLaughlin with TNT Fireworks in Plainville said.
McLaughlin says he’s asked daily if he sells fireworks other than sparklers and fountains.
Shooting off illegal fireworks here in Connecticut is either a misdemeanor which includes a fine or a felony which could include a fine or jail time.
Makuc says for those willing to go the mile, they’ll head to New Hampshire or Pennsylvania where they are legal, and according to Makuc the supply is this year is steady.
“They’re going to be using these things as long as they have access to them,” Makuc said.