Dynamite Found In West Payson

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While agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were sorting through an arsenal of firearms and explosives at a home in Deer Creek Thursday, Payson Police officers had a potentially explosive situation of their own near Rumsey Park.

A homeowner on Locust Drive, Wayne Gay, found sticks of dynamite while working in the shed in his backyard, and immediately called police.

"The gentleman was apparently fixing up his shed at the house he recently moved into, and found a bag," said Payson Police Officer Les Barr. "Inside the bag, he found five sticks of dynamite. It looks to have been there for a long time."

Police evacuated the neighborhood which was only inhabited by a few people along the secluded street off McLane Drive and called in bomb experts from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Before DPS officers could get there, bomb expert Sgt. Terry Hudgens of the Gila County Sheriff's Department arrived and determined that the dynamite was stable enough to be removed.

"I believe he then took it to buckhead pit north of the landfill, set a starter charge on it and set it off," Payson Police Lt. Don Engler said.

Barr said the resident had owned the home for a number of years, but had, until recently, operated it as a rental property.

"We have no way of knowing how long the dynamite had been there, or who was responsible for it," Barr said.

Engler said the homeowner should be commended for his action after finding the stash.

"He used good judgment in recognizing what it was," the lieutenant said. "He kept people away from it, and notified us immediately."

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