Thieves grab 250 kilograms of explosives

Within the past five days, thieves broke into a location owned by Yukon Pump Sales and Service Ltd., about 50 kilometres outside Whitehorse, and…

Within the past five days, thieves broke into a location owned by Yukon Pump Sales and Service Ltd., about 50 kilometres outside Whitehorse, and stole 10 boxes of explosives.

Each of the boxes contained two cartridges of a putty-like water-gel explosive.

“The products are used in construction and the speculation, based on what was taken, is that it was probably for mining,” said Chris May with Yukon Pump.

May would not disclose the exact type of the explosive.

“The less specific information the better the investigation will go,” he said.

He calls them “highly specialized” and “non volatile.”

 “Barring a fire, these products cannot explode in transport,” said May.

Detonating the explosives is a very complex process, he said.

“You would need some knowledge and highly specialized equipment.”

Another product is needed to detonate the explosive, and that product has not been stolen on the West Coast recently, said May.

The theft occurred between 10:30 p.m. on Friday, May 11 and Tuesday, May 15.

Police didn’t hear about the break-in until after noon on Tuesday.

Whitehorse RCMP are not advising that the public take any precautions.

Two hundred and fifty kilograms is not a lot compared to orders that the company regularly fills for road construction.

Dyno Nobel, an international explosives company with locations in Canada, Australia and the US, manufactures the product.

“We deal in large amounts of explosives all used for the public good,” said David McConnach, Dyno Nobel’s vice-president of sales and operations, in a telephone interview from BC.

“We’re not experts in how other people use the product.”

Could the explosives be used to take down a building?

“No,” answered McConnach.

“They’re explosives used in the construction and mining industry.

“They break rock using chemical energy, they’re powerful.”

Boxes shown in RCMP photographs distributed to the media are labeled as “Explosives, blasting, Type E”.

Inside the boxes are tubes, wrapped in white plastic, which are 13-centimetres wide and 91-centimetres long.

Each tube has the word “Tovite” written in red on the packaging.

Each stolen box weighed nearly 25 kilograms, making the thieves’ total haul approximately 250 kilograms.

About 50 per cent of the weight is packaging, said May.

“They are packaged against impact or a truck crash or anything extreme like that.”

The explosives cost about $2 a kilogram.

Local RCMP ask anybody who may have witnessed any suspicious activity at Yukon Pump, or who come across the stolen products, to contact the Whitehorse detachment at 667-5555 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Contact Leighann Chalykoff at leighannc@yukon-news.com

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