Fireworks Stand Operators on Alert for Thieves

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DONNA – Fireworks stands are mainly set up in rural areas of Hidalgo County where poor lighting and remote locations make them an easy target for thieves.

A couple months out of the year, fireworks stand operators make a small plot of land their home.

"We sleep in my vehicle,” said first-time fireworks stand operator Esmeralda Villarreal. 

Villarreal said the extra cash helps support her family. Her family takes turns staying up all night to watch for people who may want to take advantage.

"We have hammers; we have a BB gun. Well anything that we can use,” said Villarreal.

She said they worry more about losing their merchandise overnight. 

"We’re not too worried about like money wise because they do come and pick up the deposits daily. So, we always make sure we don't have that much cash on us,” she said.

Villarreal's stand is located near the highway.  She said it also serves as a form of protection.

"It's safer because there's always cops passing by, state troopers, sheriffs, even the firefighters are constantly passing by. So if anything were to actually happen during the day, we have lots of witnesses,” said Villarreal.

She explained they'll continue to stay awake and prepare themselves for the New Year’s celebrations.

The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office tells us they are increasing their patrols at fireworks stands this New Year’s.

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