Police: Grenades found in Grants Pass parking lot included live explosives

Police asked people to avoid the lot east of the north McDonalds and temporarily closed down 7th Street on Tuesday following the discovery.

Posted: Nov 12, 2019 11:48 AM
Updated: Nov 14, 2019 5:39 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Four grenades unearthed by a landscaper working in a Grants Pass parking lot on Tuesday included several live explosives, police confirmed on Thursday.

Stephen Rogers with Monument Landscaping Services was working at the lot near the driveway of the north McDonald's when he discovered the first grenade and called police. Officers with the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety called in a technician from the Oregon State Police Explosive Unit to assess the device — after which the officers discovered three more grenades partially buried in the dirt.

Police closed down part of 7th Street north of Hillcrest, but it was later re-opened to traffic shortly after noon. A section of the parking lot remained blocked off with cones and police vehicles for some time after. By Tuesday afternoon, the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety said that the area had been cleared and was now considered safe.

Officers on the scene later confirmed Rogers' account that four grenades had been discovered, but they were still waiting on confirmation from Oregon State Police's bomb technicians on whether the explosives were active or inert.

"Further inspection was conducted on all four devices yesterday," GPDPS said in a statement released on Thursday. "After inspection, it was determined three of the four devices were live."

Police checked around the area on Tuesday and did not find any further devices, but have since returned to the scene for a more thorough search.

"We do not have any indicators of additional devices or threats, this is strictly a precautionary measure in an effort to ensure the safety for those who will be working in the area," the agency said.

Deputy Chief Hamilton told NewsWatch 12 that a Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit from the National Guard was coming down from Portland on Thursday evening to do an in-depth search of the area for any further explosive devices, just for the sake of doing their due diligence.

The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety later confirmed that the EOD had swept the area where the grenades were found and determined that there were no more explosives hidden there.

"Its always an honor to work with these units and we greatly appreciate their service to our state," GPDPS said. "The lot was checked and thankfully there were no additional items of concern located. Thanks again and stay safe gentlemen!"

GPDPS said that it wants to warn the public to use extreme caution "when observing or locating devices that appear to be explosive."

"Without extensive training and safety equipment, it is always recommended to contact local law enforcement for assistance with recovering and rendering safe any potential device or suspicious package," the agency concluded.

In April of 2018, a woman and her grandson found a WWII-era grenade in their home and dropped it off at the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety building, prompting police to shut down streets around the station while Oregon State Police responded to deal with the device.

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