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2 charged in Big Ed's fireworks seizure

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Two Cambria County men each face a misdemeanor charge in connection with illegal fireworks that were seized from an Indiana County business in early July.

Mark Edward Gibson and Kris Shoff, both 48, are accused of selling consumer fireworks without a license at Big Ed's Outlet in Burrell Township.

Undercover state troopers investigating a complaint purchased illegal fireworks July 1 at the store for $30 from Shoff, who was working there, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Police seized thousands of dollars worth of illegal fireworks, $910, a cash register receipt and three wall signs. The pyrotechnics lined several shelves at the store, which specializes in exotic glass tobacco pipes.

The pyrotechnics included firecrackers, Roman candles and other airborne fireworks.

Store owner Gibson said he thought the sales were legal.

“I honestly thought we'd done right,” he said on Tuesday. “Next year, we'll be able to do the right thing.”

The store sold the same fireworks in 2012 without any problems, he said.

Police said Gibson and Shoff, both of Portage, were cooperative.

Pennsylvania law states that any fireworks that shoot into the air and explode are illegal for use by consumers. Aerial-based pyrotechnics are sold at facilities licensed by the state and can be purchased only by out-of-state residents with identification or Pennsylvania residents with a municipal permit, according to state police.

Preliminary hearings for both men are scheduled for Aug. 28 before District Judge Jennifer Rega.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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