LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — Friday afternoon, all looked calm at a fireworks stand in Lehigh.
But earlier this week heavy rains threatened to mess things up inside the tent, distracting the owners as they tried to secure it.
“We get it all patched down and as we’re walking back around we see these kids coming out of the tent with an armful of fireworks,” said Amanda McCarthy, the owner of the tent.
Earlier this week, four boys decided to rob this galaxy fireworks tent. The kids got away with close to $300 worth of fireworks. But what they didn’t know was that a surveillance system was recording their every move.
“It shows them walking through my tent, it shows them pick the product up and go to walk out. We called law enforcement and they came out. They have the pictures of the little boys but we don’t know who they are.”
McCarthy, who’s a veteran, runs the display off Sunshine Boulevard with her husband Jeremy. This is the first time the two are running a fireworks tent together.
“This is my only source of income, you know only a couple times of year we do this," she says. "We’re handling other than that and anything that comes out missing from here, financially, we’re responsible for it.”
One half of the group eventually returned to the tent and paid for some of the stolen fireworks. They even helped fix some of the displays. All that happened after Amanda put the surveillance images of the theft on Facebook.
“Two of the boys, their family did come forward," said Amanda. "They apologized and let me know my Facebook post got to their mom and they got rounded a little bit. But yeah, they actually did come forward so I’ve taken them off of Facebook and they actually did a really good job- I was really proud of them. They were scared but they still came forward and did the right thing.”
The theft comes at a time when the price for fireworks is at a high due to shortages. But Amanda says this case seemed to be about kids just wanting things that go bang.
“We found out later on, when the two kids came up, because we’d asked them if that was them that night and they said yeah," said Jeremy McCarthy. "We knew what was taken and we know what it sounds like.”
Amanda was glad two of the boys ‘fessed up. But she wants the other two to be held accountable as well.
“Hopefully they’ll be caught and they just don’t do something like that in the future," says Jeremy.
“In order for them to see if they keep going down this road, bad things can happen," said Amanda. "I don’t want anybody else getting hurt over something as simple as fireworks. I don’t want anybody getting hurt.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.