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Man hands grenade over to Kiski Township police after finding it while cleaning

| Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, 12:57 a.m.
Valley News Dispatch
A member of the Allegheny County Police Bomb Squad carries a hand grenade in a protective case back to his truck after removing it from a fire barrel at the Kiski Township police station on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012. The vintage Japanese type 97 grenade was found in a garage in Vandergrift by a man who was cleaning the garage for an elderly woman. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch

Kiski Patrolman Scott Pontieri didn't know what was going on when a man called him over to his car about noon Wednesday.

“He handed a grenade to me,” said Pontieri, a Kiski Township officer for 23 years. “I took one look and carefully walked it over to our burn barrel. It was the only place I could think of.”

A former Kiski Township man found it in a garage in Vandergrift and drove it about six miles to deliver to township police.

The outside barrel was about 10 feet away, between the township building and fire department. Pontieri evacuated both, put up crime scene tape to keep people away and called the Allegheny County bomb squad.

The World War II Japanese grenade didn't explode, but bomb experts said hours later that the grenade possibly was live.

“An X-ray showed it possibly still be could live,” said township police Chief Jerrod Thompson.

He said the Type 97 grenade was found in a garage in the 500 block of Jackson Street by a man in his 50s who was cleaning out the garage for an older woman.

“He used to live here in the township, so he brought it to our station and handed it to our officer,” Thompson said.

At about 3:30 p.m., the World War II-era explosive was put into an armored chest and removed by a bomb specialist who wore protective clothing.

While the bomb squad was taking care of the explosive, Vandergrift police and a police dog were checking the garage and house to determine if there were any more World War II souvenirs inside.

None was found.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

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