Police Warn Against Buying, Using Illegal Fireworks
Throughout this week, in addition to the many legal and sanctioned fireworks displays in New Jersey, there will be some who choose to either purchase or sell illegal fireworks in the state, authorities said.
Capt. Steven Jones of the New Jersey State Police says unfortunately, fireworks companies right across the river in Pennsylvania cater to New Jersey residents seeking to buy fireworks that they cannot even sell to residents of their own state. He says some New Jerseyans ignore our state's laws.
"They know that all that they have to do is drive across the river," Jones said.
He says those who bring the stuff back here and get caught selling it could face fines.
"Most often, that will still result in a very hefty fine and potential jail time, depending on what happens," Jones said.
Jones said there are financial penalties for the simple possession of fireworks. He said much more important than the financial penalties for breaking the law, would be potential consequences of the visit to the hospital and the injury to some of the children or the loved ones in your family.
"If, for instance, someone sells fireworks to a child and that child gets injured, well, you know what? That person is going to be looking at some real jail time," Jones said.
He was asked whether New Jersey State Police still "stake out" fireworks outlets in other states, Jones said authorities have, in the past, sent officers to such shops.
"Without saying too much, I am going to say that in years past, we have had detectives in unmarked cars across the river, observing some of these sales and watching as people come back across our side of the river, and then radio transmissions were made identifying those cars and those cars were stopped and those people had their full loads seized and were given a hefty summons to appear in court on those charges," he said.
And while it is illegal to own, sell or use fireworks in New Jersey without the proper permit, local police enforcement may vary. Jones says local police often have more important matters to deal with, but they will enforce the prohibition against illegal fireworks if called upon to do so.
Jones says amateur fireworks use causes eye and other injuries every year.
"It's silly to take those kind of chances, when the big, professional shows are probably within a few miles of every resident of New Jersey," he said.