Bidders on a padlocked suitcase at an Arkansas estate auction might have gotten a real bang out of their purchase--if the bomb squad hadn't arrived first.
Explosives experts were summoned to a backyard estate sale in Mayflower, Arkansas on Saturday, after auctioneers found three blocks of C-4 explosive in the suitcase, along with two tubes of another explosive, a pair of blasting caps and two sticks of dynamite.
Members of the Conway, Arkansas bomb squad removed the explosives and took them to an isolated spot for destruction. The auction went on as scheduled.
Officials believe the explosives belonged to the estate's owner, a Navy veteran who recently died. Experts estimated that the C-4 and the other explosives were at least 15 years old, putting them at the end of their shelf life and making them more dangerous.
No one has said how the deceased Navy man might have obtained the explosives, but we've heard plenty of stories about vets keep a few souvenirs of their military service--items like hand grenades, machine gun rounds, and even the occasional mortar shell. The stuff sits around the house for years until someone finds it--and calls the bomb squad--or, in isolated cases, explodes due to age or improper handling.
Apparently, the rest of the stuff at the sale was rather mundane; dishes, toys, and a few collectibles. But after the suitcase discovery, we're guessing that buyers inspected their purchases a bit more carefully.
I think events like this will increase in the near future as more and more WWII and Korea vets pass on.
I give a warning to my friends when they are called upon to clear out Dad's or Gramps basement to look out for anything that resembles ammo or explosives.
I sure remember when I was 5 playing around something from WW2 at a friends house in 1946 that in my memory looked like about a 40-60mm shell on the end of a large case. I was terrified but his mom kept assuring me they were unloaded. I'm still a little worried.
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