EAST DONEGAL TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms says it is almost confident that all of the explosives that were stolen from a pipeline construction site in Lancaster County have now been found.
The theft was discovered on Monday, and just a few days later, on Friday, the dynamite was located at a River Front park in East Donegal Township.
Investigators recovered a total of 320 cartridges of dynamite (weighing approximately 352 pounds at 1.1 pound per cartridge) and a total of 404 blasting caps. Initial inventory of the missing explosives totaled 640 cartridges (weighing approximately 704 pounds) and approximately 400 blasting caps.
"After analyzing information from the interviews, investigators are increasingly confident that the original amount of explosives reported as stolen was erroneous. ATF is continuing to work on confirming the discrepancy, however, we are increasingly confident that all stolen explosive materials have been recovered," ATF said in a statement.
And thanks to tipsters like 18-year-old Chad Martin, the ATF tells FOX43 they have some potential leads.
On Thursday, Martin was looking for a fishing spot with a friend and came across something strange.
“We just went down towards the tracks or whatever and we just kept going down and then we saw it said posted property and that we weren’t supposed to be back there so we were going to turn around," said Chad Martin, East Donegal Township.
That’s when Martin says he and his friend saw something in the water.
“Under like the railroad tracks we saw these orange packs in the water and we were like what is that," said Martin. “We didn’t know what it was so we just turned around and went back," he added.
It wasn’t until they saw news reports about explosives found in the very same park they were at just one day earlier that they realized what they had stumbled across.
“We were kind of like, wow, these people found it but we saw it first and it’s like we didn’t even know that’s what it was because it didn’t even look like explosives," added Martin.
Martin’s friend who was with him that day declined to speak on camera, but he tells FOX43 that he saw a truck backed into the creek. He says it was a newer Ford F-150 under the bridge with the tailgate down and no one inside.
We reached out to the ATF about Martin’s information and they responded in part quote: "We are not entirely sure how that fits in. Suspicious, yes but still running down if it's related based on other leads gained throughout the investigation." - ATF
With many questions still left unanswered, people like Laura Vash, who brings her kids to the park frequently, are left with uneasy feelings.
“It’s super family friendly around here people are just really friendly, so do you don’t think of it as being a crime hot spot, so it’s definitely shocking," said Laura Vash, East Donegal Township.
A $20,000 reward is still available for information leading to the identification and/or the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.
Anyone with information pertaining to the discarding of the materials in the public park or relating to the theft of the explosive materials to contact the ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662) or call 911.