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Dec. 19, 2005 — About 400 pounds of explosive material was stolen from a research facility in New Mexico, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed today.
The theft was discovered Sunday night by local authorities.
ATF agents are investigating the large theft from Cherry Enginering, a company owned by Chris Cherry, for decades the senior explosives scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.
Also, 2,500 detonators were missing from a storage explosive container, or magazine, in the name of Cherry Engineering.
The theft is one of the largest reported cases from a facility in the United States in the last decade ending 2004. During that time, a total of about 1,000 pounds was reported stolen from government facilities in 14 reported incidents. It is unknown whether there is any connection to terrorism.
A special agent at ATF said the incident was unusual because such high-powered material was targeted.
One hundred and fifty pounds of the plastic explosive compound C-4 and 250 pounds of undetectable "sheet explosives" — a DuPont flexible explosive material that can be hidden in books and letters — were stolen in the burglary, which also included the theft of blasting caps.