(From the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri)
A Webb City, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for stealing commercial fireworks.
Stephen Grimmett, 51, of Webb City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to five years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Grimmett to pay $498 in restitution.
On April 17, 2015, Grimmett pleaded guilty to stealing explosives and to being a felon in possession of explosives. Grimmett stole more than 250 pounds of explosive materials – commercial grade fireworks – from Liberty Pyrotechnics, LLC, in June 2014.
Grimmett admitted that he and co-defendant Christopher Ransom, 41, of Alba, Mo., used a power drill to remove the screws from the sheet metal paneling to gain access to the building where Libery Pyrotechnics stored fireworks. Grimmett and Ransom loaded the fireworks into Ransom’s mini-van and drove to a gas station at Range Line Road and Zora in Joplin, Mo., where they split up the fireworks and parted ways.
According to court documents, Grimmett attempted to sell these items to others who would lack the proper training, skill, or facilities, to safely store and utilize these very dangerous items.
Grimmett has prior felony convictions for possession of a controlled substance and possession of a chemical with intent to manufacture a controlled substance. These felony convictions make it illegal for him to possess any explosive materials.
Ransom has also pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Sept. 9, 2015, to time served.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Newton County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.