Authorities have arrested a man who they say tried to sell homemade dynamite tied to recent ATM explosions in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Wednesday announced the arrest of 26-year-old Talib Crump, of Frankford.
Crump’s arrest follows a sting operation carried out by the attorney general’s office, in partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Philadelphia Police Department.
“Over the past several days in Philadelphia, we have seen brave, courageous people practice their constitutional right to peacefully protest — all in the name of justice,” Shapiro said in an afternoon press conference. “We will not allow this movement to be co-opted by opportunists or people who cause violent distractions.”
My Office, working alongside the ATF and the Philadelphia Police Department, have arrested an individual selling homemade dynamite on the streets of Philadelphia.
— AG Josh Shapiro (@PAAttorneyGen) June 3, 2020
Prosecutors say Crump was advertising sticks of dynamite for sale on Instagram. When agents contacted Crump to make a purchase, Crump allegedly left a voicemail claiming that dynamite was the most effective method to blow up an ATM and steal its contents.
Crump allegedly instructed the agent on how to properly place the sticks of dynamite and admitted to stealing approximately $8,500 from an ATM — one of several that he said he blew up — on June 1.
Crump is charged with one count of possession of weapons of mass destruction, one count of risking a catastrophe and related offenses.
Amid the civil unrest in Philadelphia, about 50 ATMs in have been blown up since Saturday by thieves attempting to steal the money inside, according to city officials.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said officers have investigated 135 total explosions around the city since the weekend. The 50 ATMs are believed to have been blown up by M100 and M250 explosives.
“Most of these ATMs don’t have money in them,” said Outlaw. “We encourage businesses that have private ATMs to ensure the money is removed. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth the injuries or the danger it is imposing.”
John Schmidt of the Philadelphia Division of the ATF is investigating the explosions. Anyone with information regarding past or future incidents is urged to contact the ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS.
Peter Crimmins contributed reporting.