‘Could be tragic’: Family members stumble upon grenades from deceased veterans

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — They are dangerous keepsakes of war, and are popping up in homes around Indianapolis. Almost once a month the IMPD bomb squad is called out to the houses of veterans who pass away after their loved ones stumble upon explosives.

Most of the time, the bombs are safe and harmless, but IMPD said roughly once a year they find explosives that are still active. Anyone can purchase these weapons online, however, many are taken home from war.

“How they checked in the past versus how they check now is a lot different," IMPD Bomb Squad Commander Lt. Ron Humbert said.

Humbert called them "military ordnance," but that often means explosives. With many Korean and Vietnam veterans passing away from old age, explosives are being left in a garage or basement. The bomb squad takes away and discharges live grenades and explosives. If the explosive is safe, they are returned to the family after a vetting process.

"Sometimes it's an educational piece for the family," Humbert said. "Here’s what you have. This is a memento from your loved one that's passed away.”

The vetting process is critical because some military ordnance can be reactivated.

"You can purchase this stuff unfortunately, and make it a viable threat again," Lt. Humbert said. "If you do a little research, the bad guys can."

IMPD said often families don't want the mementos back because they are intimidating.

"They are built by our military, [or] built by a military around the world, and they are made to withstand years of storage," Humbert said.

If you think you've found one in your family member's home, police urge you to call them.

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