Having a blast: Winnipeg fireworks store offers free show for info on pyrotechnic pincher

A Winnipeg fireworks retailer is offering a free show for the tip that catches a thief who stole $150 worth of pyrotechnics.

A smarter thief would steal a car, owner quips after man makes off with $150 worth of fireworks

Surveillance footage inside Red Bomb Fireworks at 1838 Portage Ave. shows a person reaching in to grab a box of fireworks. (Surveillance video from Red Bomb Fireworks)

A Winnipeg fireworks retailer is offering a free show in exchange for the tip that catches their pyrotechnic pincher.

Red Bomb Fireworks is putting up a dazzling $1,000 fireworks display for information that leads to the arrest of a thief who apparently couldn't wait for the store's door-crasher specials, so he smashed the window.

Co-owner Matt Bialek watched the break-in live on video from his Selkirk, Man., home early Sunday morning, after the store's surveillance devices alerted him to a disturbance. 

"He tried three times to break the front window," Bialek said.

"The first time, something bounced off the window. The second time, he broke the exterior pane of our windows and the third time he was, I guess, powerful enough to make it finally through the window."

Low return from stealing fireworks

He made off with a pair of boxes and returned shortly after for more explosives, valued altogether at $150.

He was also seen back in the area about two hours later, according to a Facebook post from Red Bomb Fireworks.

The whole experience baffles Bialek, since the thief wouldn't have made much money re-selling them.

"This is not the type of product that I would look at stealing — it's heavy, it's awkward, it's bulky," he said.

A Winnipeg fireworks retailer is offering a free show for the tip that catches a thief who stole $150 worth of pyrotechnics. 0:38

"I'm not advocating this, but a smarter thief might look at stealing a car. You can see value there."

The biggest financial hit is the damage to the building, estimated to be about $5,000, he said. The store is on Portage Avenue, between Parkview and Roseberry streets. 

The man in the surveillance video is described as 5-9 tall, riding a black mountain bike and having "impeccable fashion sense," with a black Marilyn Monroe hoodie and a beige cactus-print shirt underneath, according to the Facebook post from Red Bomb Fireworks.

The thief walks away with two boxes of fireworks. (Surveillance video from Red Bomb Fireworks.)

On the way to their store after the break-in, Bialek and his wife, Brandi, hatched the idea for a free, choreographed fireworks display for the person with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man in question.

They posted their plea on Facebook Monday morning and have already received dozens of tips, which are being forwarded to Winnipeg police.

Bialek said it's gratifying to see the community rally behind them.

"We're joking that … our door-crasher specials were so good that this individual couldn't wait until today when we opened at 10 a.m., he had to get in on Sunday."


  • An earlier version of this story said the person who broke into the shop returned two hours later for more explosives. In fact, the person returned and stole more explosives shortly after the initial theft, and was seen again in the vicinity of the shop about two hours later.
    Jun 25, 2019 5:11 PM CT

About the Author

Ian Froese


Ian Froese is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. He has previously worked for newspapers in Brandon and Steinbach. Story idea? Email:


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