Police say its tough to get evidence to make arrest
By Doug Keeler
Midway Driller Editor
Illegal fireworks rocked Taft and lit up the skies at night for the past several weeks and on July 4, parts of town sounded like a war zone at times.
Taft Police charged one person with illegal fireworks.
That arrest was made about 9:30 Saturday night at First and Lucard streets.
Sgt. Corey Beilby said an officer on patrol just happened to be in the area and saw a man "in the process of lighting an launching aerial fireworks."
The suspect was launching them from a mortar tube.
Luis Alberto German Rios, 35, was charged with possession of fireworks without a permit, according to the Taft Police Department website.
Rios was released on citation.
Officers confiscated the mortar tube, several spent fireworks and some unspent fireworks and turned them over to the Kern County Fire Department for disposal.
Beilby said there has been an unusually high number of illegal aerial fireworks both in Taft and elsewhere around the state.
He said its often very difficult for police and freighters to make a case for using and possessing illegal fireworks.
The biggest issue for law enforcement and fire are the evidence issues," Beilby said. "We can have multiple people reporting they're setting them off... but knowing whose doing it and catching them doing it, that's the problem.
People often set the fireworks off down the street from their home, then go inside afterwards. Another problem is fireworks being set off at parties where there are a lot of people around and identifying which one is responsible.
This year Beilby said they have had a lot of reports of people driving around, stopping to light off fireworks and then driving off to another location.