Montgomery County police in Bethesda got a surprise Thursday afternoon when a woman walked in to the district station on Wisconsin Avenue to turn in what appeared to be a live hand grenade.
The woman’s children found the grenade and apparently began playing with it as the family prepared to move from their house in the Bethesda area, said Assistant Chief Scott Graham, a Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman.
The woman could not tell if the device was live, so she brought it to the police station, at 7359 Wisconsin Ave., just before 3:45 p.m., to have it disposed of, Graham said.
“It was a run of the mill [dummy] grenade that you could buy at Sunny’s Surplus, but it looked like the kids had been playing with it, maybe adding some things to it,” Graham said. “It appeared as though it had been modified in some way, so our investigators weren’t immediately able to tell if it was live or not.”
The station and the area immediately outside it was closed until Montgomery County Fire Marshalls responded to the scene, Montgomery County police spokeswoman Angela Cruz said.
The grenade was inspected by bomb squad specialists, X-rayed for explosive qualities and, just in case, taken to the police department’s outdoor gun range in Poolesville to be disposed of, Graham said.
“We treat everything as though it is live until we can determine otherwise,” Graham said.
According to the fire marshall’s report, the family had lived in the home since 1994, Graham said.
“I think the thing to take away from this incident is, if you find something like this, even if you believe it to be a run-of-the-mill replica, don’t pick it up and take it to the police station,” Graham said. “Just leave it there where it is and let the professionals come and examine it.”