Cops catch Whitestone man loading fireworks into a car ahead of the Fourth of July

Photo via Facebook/NYPD109PCT

Whitestone man is facing charges after officers allegedly discovered him in the neighborhood filling up a car with illegal fireworks ahead of Independence Day.

On June 29, Anthony Castagliola, 20, of Beechhurst was booked on unlawful possession of fireworks after members of the 109th Precinct‘s Anti-Crime Team allegedly observed the man loading a vehicle parked at 147th Street and 20th Road with a large quantity of fireworks, law enforcement sources said.

Castagliola was issued a desk appearance ticket and needs to return to the 109th Precinct on July 16, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

In a social media post on the precinct’s official Facebook page, authorities encouraged residents to “leave the fireworks to the experts.” Officers also encouraged locals who observe illegal fireworks in their community to call 311 and 911 and assured residents they will be on the lookout for the pyrotechnics.

According to the NYPD, individuals using, transporting or selling illegal fireworks throughout the city can be arrested, have their cars confiscated or their businesses closed. The department offers up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals possessing or distributing fireworks.

Confiscated fireworks are destroyed in controlled burns at the NYPD range in the Bronx, according to the department’s website. Consumer fireworks are illegal throughout Queens County.