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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

March 11, 2009

Contact: Special Agent Michael Hoffman, PIO

Office: (818) 265-2507

Cell: (213) 925-4547

ATF Pays Citizen $25,000 for Providing Information Leading to Conviction Related to Explosives Theft

LOS ANGELES — John A. Torres, special agent in charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Los Angeles Field Division, today announced that ATF paid a citizen (who wishes to remain anonymous) $25,000 for providing information that led to the arrest and conviction of an individual responsible for stealing more than 500 pounds of high explosives from a locked explosives magazine in Big Bear, Calif. The suspect, Joshua Gawn, was ultimately sentenced to 10 years in prison for the theft.

Without the citizen’s information, coupled with the expertise and collaboration of ATF, the Riverside and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Departments, and the Riverside Police and Fire Departments, this case may have gone unsolved, said Torres. It also goes to show that crime doesn’t pay, but providing information certainly does. And in this economic environment I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t welcome a $25,000 payday, added Torres.

In May 2006, approximately 685 sticks of dynamite and a 30-pound bag of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil were stolen from the Gold Mountain Mine Company in Big Bear. The thief cut through a company security gate and cut and pried open the explosives storage magazine to gain access to the explosives.

ATF immediately put out a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the theft. ATF and several other local agencies worked tirelessly conducting countless interviews and following up on leads related to the stolen explosives.

On May 10, 2006, investigators discovered 571 sticks of dynamite abandoned at a fire station in Riverside. A similar discovery, the same day, of explosives occurred at a fire station in Moreno Valley. On May 14, additional dynamite was found in a stolen vehicle abandoned on a Moreno Valley street.

Based directly on information provided by the citizen tipster and additional investigations conducted by ATF, Joshua Gawn was arrested for stealing the explosives. On Aug. 7, 2007, Gawn pleaded guilty to state charges related to possession of the stolen explosives and possession of a stolen vehicle. On March 21, 2008, Gawn was sentenced to 10 years in state prison.

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