ROCHESTER (AP) -- Authorities have discounted the possibility of a link between the theft of an explosive chemical from a quarry here and upcoming protests by animal rights groups in the Twin Cities.
Federal and local authorities said they have a list of 200 people they plan to question about the theft. The list includes employees who had access to the locked trailer where the missing 550 pounds of ''Dyno-Mix'' ammonium nitrate had been stored, but investigators stressed Tuesday these people weren't considered suspects.
Eleven 50-pound bags of the chemical, often used for blasting rock at quarries, were stolen sometime between July 7 and July 10 from the grounds of Elcor Construction Inc., Olmsted County Sheriff's Detective Ken Wickelgren said.
Initially, authorities feared the theft might be connected to anticipated protests against the International Society of Animal Genetics conference in Minneapolis.
By Tuesday, officials with the Olmsted County Sheriff's Department, the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms dismissed the link.
''I'm not saying we're ruling it out 100 percent, but our intelligence doesn't point to that (conference),'' FBI spokesman Paul McCabe said.
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