Chief: ‘Better safe than sorry’
Police Chief Bill Bolt had never called the state bomb squad before. But when a vintage World War I artillery shell showed up in his office from an unknown source, he figured, “You need to be very, very careful ... and better safe than sorry,” said Chief Bolt.
The bomb squad received photos and description from Bolt and decided to brave Monday night’s snow storm to travel to Minneota to make sure the bomb was not dangerous.
“The Bloomington Police Department bomb squad who is responsible for our portion of the state sent two officers to Minneota (in a snowstorm) to look at a suspicious artillery shell,” said the chief.
Their services, time and equipment are provided by the state, so there are no charges to the city for their assistance. Officers Risdall and Banner inspected the shell and were able to determine that it had previously been fired from an artillery cannon.
They then used an X-ray unit to determine if the shell contained explosive. The X-ray unit showed that the shell was empty. The officers then removed the top which was the timing fuse. Upon closer inspection, they determined the fuse was already used.
Officer Risdall explained that it was not uncommon for soldiers to recover the shells and timing head to keep as a souvenir.
“The officers told me the shell was a 75mm Schovell Model 190 Anti-personnel shell,” said Chief Bolt. The man who brought the shell to Chief Bolt said he’d had it for over 30 years.
“I’m not sure how he got it,” said the chief. It appeared to be fused, so the bomb squad determined it was best to inspect the shell.
The bomb squad gets this kind of call about four times per year, they indicated.
“They want to be very, very careful regarding military surplus and war surplus. They can be dangerous,” said Chief Bolt.
But not in this case.