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Investigation into stolen fireworks includes Atlantic City police

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The theft of about $16,000 worth of fireworks from outside an Atlantic City business has led to an investigation involving city police — as the suspects. The Ducktown Tavern had a Pennsylvania fireworks company selling the now-legal wares from a tent on their lot about a week before Fourth of July, owner John Exadaktilos said. Then, after a great July 1 night for the Ducktown following the beach concert, Exadaktilos noticed the tent and storage pod that had been filled with fireworks were empty. But what really surprised him, he says, was when he looked at video surveillance, and saw two officers in uniform loading up the fireworks. Atlantic City police confirmed there is an investigation being conducted by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, but said they could not comment further. A spokeswoman for the Prosecutor’s Office did not return a request seeking comment. Exadaktilos first spoke of the allegations Monday on WPG Talk Radio's Hurley in the Morning, after the radio host obtained a copy of the video. “I’d rather the video speak for itself,” Harry Hurley told BreakingAC when asked for comment. He then provided video to BreakingAC from the three cameras that cover the parking lot. Hours earlier, the footage includes a transaction involving three other police officers, where at least one of them appears to use a credit card to pay for fireworks that are then loaded into two patrol cars with help from the man and woman working the tent. Exadaktilos, who is running for City Council in the Sixth Ward, said a manager from Keystone came to the Ducktown to look into the missing merchandise. He said the company has contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Keystone did not return requests seeking comment. PBA President Matt Rogers has asked that the public withhold comment until the investigation is completed. “It appears some very strong accusations have been thrown at several of our members,” he said. “When the investigation is complete, we are sure the truth will change the tone of the rhetoric and theme to these complaints. Anyone attempting to pass judgment in a public venue outside of due process or having all facts present is irresponsible.” Exadaktilos said he first thought he only had one view of the scene, but then realized he had new cameras in the new parking lot booth. In that video, he said, you can see both sides of the tent, and two cruisers being loaded. “Then, the other cop left and picked up his own personal vehicle and loaded even more equipment,” Exadaktilos said. “These guys were clocked in and working. Personally, it’s disturbing.” He said he recognized the officers, but is not identifying them. The video was sent to Atlantic City police and later the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, he said. “I want these people who stole from me held highly and full accountable,” said Exadaktilos, who said he has been a big supporter of police in the city. Keystone said it had about $18,000 worth of merchandise, he said. Sales were almost $2,000, leaving more than $16,000 in missing merchandise.

Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Sunday, June 16, 2024
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