WHEELING - About 1,000 pounds of dynamite was found abandoned and stored improperly last week at the former home of a firm seeking to demolish the Bellaire Bridge, law enforcement agents near Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, said.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Spokane, Wash., now is investigating the incident at the past residence of Eric and Lisa Kelly of Advanced Explosives Demolition - known for the cable television show "The Imploders." The property is in St. Maries, Idaho, near the couple's base office in Coeur D'Alene.
Maj. Ben Wolfinger, public information officer for the Kootenai County (Idaho) Sheriff's Department, said that on Thursday, the landlord at the property contacted his agency after discovering the dynamite at the home. He had been inspecting the property after having evicted the Kellys, according to Wolfinger.
Eric and Lisa Kelly of Idaho are involved in a legal dispute over ownership of the old Bellaire Bridge.
"We responded and found that it was not stored properly - in a bunker or secured facility," Wolfinger said.
The ATF is now investigating what is believed to be a federal offense, he continued.
A spokesman with the ATF office in Spokane, who didn't wish to be identified, confirmed an investigation was taking place but said the ATF wasn't "overly concerned about" the incident. He said the Kellys were licensed to handle dynamite and likely will just be cited for storage violations.
Calls to the attorney for the Kellys, Arthur Bistline of Coeur D'Alene, were not returned Monday.
The matter of just who owns the Bellaire Toll Bridge is to be decided by the Idaho Supreme Court.
In May 2010, AED purchased the bridge from its former owner, Bellaire businessman Roger Barack, for $1. AED then sold the bridge a few days later to KDC Investments for $25,000, with what AED calls an agreement between the two companies that it be a subcontractor on the project.
By the end of summer, the relationship between the firms had deteriorated and AED officials indicated they would not use KDC to take down the Bellaire Toll Bridge.
District Judge John T. Mitchell of Kootenai County, Idaho, issued a memorandum in February stating a demolition agreement between AED and KDC Investments of Newton Falls, Ohio, was an "illegal contract from AED's standpoint." The agreement was not valid since AED failed "to obtain a valid contractor's license and procure the necessary permits before entering into the demolition agreement with KDC," the memorandum continued.
The ruling also recognized KDC as owner of the span and permitted the company to seek an order to proceed with demolition from the U.S. Coast Guard, said Lee Chaklos of KDC and Delta Demolition.
AED is appealing that ruling.