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Missing Explosives

Security concerns, missing explosives trouble Final Four as Dallas tries to break Houston's all-time record

Final Four fireworks
A set of pyrotechnics like this one was stolen from the March Madness Music Festival. Photo courtesy of Dallas Police Department

ARLINGTON — A number of pyrotechnics were apparently stolen from the March Madness Music Festival on Friday night, prompting security levels to be raised at all the Final Four venues.

Dogs capable of sniffing out explosives are conducting sweeps of the various venues, though it was hard to tell the difference at AT&T Stadium on Saturday with a number of canines having been busy working at the stadium all week. Security procedures also have been changed at Bracket Town, the interactive fan festival at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center, due to the missing pyrotechnics.

The clear bag policy adopted by NFL teams (to much controversy) is now being enforced at Bracket Town. That means only clutch purses, clear tote bags, plastic re-sealable storage bags or NCAA-provided clear bags are allowed. The policy was already in effect for the games at AT&T Stadium.

Additionally, dozens of extra off-duty police officers were suddenly called in because of missing pyrotechnics that were planned for the March Madness Music Festival. To make matters more complicated, all of this comes during what could be the most massive crowd in Final Four history.

North Texas Final Four officials are hoping to break the Final Four attendance record set at Houston's Reliant Stadium in 2011 (75,421) by packing more than 80,000 people into Jerry's World.

"As a precaution, authorities have taken steps to increase security at all NCAA venues and other scheduled event locations in the area where large numbers of people are expected,” Dallas police spokesman Lt. Max Geron said in a statement.

The missing pyrotechnics were discovered when contractors at the music festival did an inventory. A package of pyrotechnics — 11 inches wide by 17 inches long and 12 inches deep — was no longer there.

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