• UPDATE: ATF investigates missing explosives in Mt. Juliet

    By Jared Felkins -

    According to Michael Knight, special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, missing explosives at a construction site in Mt. Juliet identified as explosive boosters may be part of a clerical error, but he encouraged the public to stay aware of the potential they could be out in the public.

    Industry operations investigators, special agents and Mt. Juliet police continued Thursday to follow up on various leads.

    “We encourage the public, that if they have any information or know any information on these products, either through conversations or through social media that these products are turning up somewhere, that they notify law enforcement authorities,” Knight said.

    Knight said there is no known threat to the public, but if anyone sees or comes into contact with such a device to call 911 immediately and clear the area, as they are volatile devices.

    Explosive boosters are sensitive explosive charges that act as a bridge between the detonator and low-sensitive, high-energy explosives such as dynamite.

    Explosive boosters are commercial products available to the blasting industry who a hold federal explosive license. Federal explosive license holders have 24 hours to report any missing or unaccounted for products that they take an inventory of every day. Knight said photos are expected to be released and more information in the coming days.

    John VanMole, a spokesperson for Jones Brothers Contractors, said while the company doesn’t believe any of its products were stolen, they are working with authorities and treating it as a precaution until they can verify the error.

    “We’ve got no reason to expect that some big theft of explosives has happened. The speculation is that it’s probably more of a paperwork error more than anything else, but obviously they’re going to check it out and make sure that’s what it is,” VanMole said.

    Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents started an investigation Wednesday afternoon after explosive booster charges went missing from a construction site.

    Mt. Juliet police detectives called ATF agents to assist in the investigation that started at about 5:15 p.m. at a large construction site off Volunteer Boulevard on Athlete’s Way near the Under Armour distribution center. Mt. Juliet detectives left the scene at about 9:30 p.m.

    Mt. Juliet police Capt. Tyler Chandler said the investigation is treated as a theft investigation until it can be proven otherwise with a documentation audit. He said the explosive booster charges went missing at some point during the workday.

    Chandler said the boosters are used during the excavation process.

    “It is our goal to locate the missing explosives and determine how they went missing,” Chandler said. “This will also include an in-depth review of paperwork to determine if a theft actually occurred.”

    Anyone with information about the missing explosives is asked to call Mt. Juliet police at 615-754-TIPS or at mjpd.org.

    Democrat staff writer Matt Masters contributed to this report.

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