Family members cleaning out a relative's garage on Sunday in Arroyo Grande made an unexpected discovery when they opened an old box: an apparent World War II-era hand grenade and a “practice” mortar shell.
The items — which were sitting on top of a newspaper dated Dec. 10, 1953 — belonged to their relative, a World War II veteran.
Police were called about 10:20 a.m. to the 100 block of Rosewood Avenue. Officers didn’t know whether the grenade was live, though the safety pin and handle were still attached, said Arroyo Grande police Cmdr. Chuck Gerhart. The mortar shell did not contain any explosives.
The San Luis Obispo County Bomb Task Force was called and responded. Residents living on either side of the home where the items were located were evacuated. The task force took both items without incident to dispose of them, and the incident ended about 12:30 p.m.
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Gerhart urged anyone who finds an explosive device to contact their local law enforcement agency immediately.
“It was clear the family members didn't know it was there or if did know about it they had forgotten,” he said. “We want to protect the community and the best way for us to do that is to get these items out.”