Police Said Thrift Store Staff Found Grenade Among Donations

Police said staff members of a thrift store in Junction City, Oregon, came across a hand grenade among donations, which led to an evacuation and a shutdown of streets in the area.

According to a press release issued by the Junction City Police Department, staff members at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store reported that they found what appeared to be a functional hand grenade last Saturday

Grenades, per Encyclopedia Britannica, are small explosive, chemical or gas bombs that are primarily used at short range.

Grenade
A hand grenade was found among donated items at a thrift store. by sonmez/iStock

Junction City police said the grenade was found inside a box with other items that were donated to the thrift store by an unidentified person.

"The building has been evacuated and the streets bordering the building have been closed," police said in their statement.

In addition to the Junction City police, explosive ordinance technicians from the Eugene Police Department responded to the incident. When they arrived at about 12:30 p.m., the technicians examined the device and did not believe it had a detonator cap.

"For safety, they secured the device in a safe manner, took possession of the device and will be destroying it," per the statement

The thrift store and the streets in the area later reopened.

Junction City Police Department's Deputy Chief Eric Markell told Newsweek there was no additional information beyond what was stated in the press release.

Joel Gorthy, a spokesperson for St. Vincent de Paul, told Newsweek that staff immediately contacted the police

"This one looked live, it still had the pin in it," Gorthy said of the grenade.

He said the box of donations may have been dropped off just that morning.

Terry McDonald, the executive director of St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County, told Newsweek it would be difficult for police to investigate the matter because the items were dropped off and the doner was gone long before staff found the grenade.

Encyclopedia Britannica noted that explosive grenades are the most commonly used grenades in wartime.

"Such grenades have a fuse that detonates the explosive either on impact or after a brief (usually four-second) time delay that is long enough for the grenade to be accurately thrown but is too brief for enemy soldiers to toss the grenade back once it has landed among them," the encyclopedia entry stated.

Thrift stores often come across odd items in donations. McDonald said people frequently give away items they happen to come across in their garage and may not know what to do with them. He said stores have received human remains in the form of ashes, animal pelts and explosives.

Some of the strangest items can often be found in the mattresses that are donated. McDonald said they've come across cats, mummified snakes and a variety of other objects, like guns and handcuffs.

He urged people to put more thought behind what they donate because some of the items may be dangerous.

Newsweek reached out to the Junction City Police Department for further information but did not hear back from a representative by press time.

This was not the only unexpected item thrift store staff members came across. Newsweek previously reported that a family was reunited with their cat who climbed inside a chair that was donated to a thrift store in Denver.

A staff member told the assistant manager that they found the cat and they called professionals from the municipality's animal protection agency. The animal protection officer calmed the cat down and it was able to crawl out of the chair on its own uninjured.

Updated 2/16/22, 9:50 AM: The story has been updated with a comment from the Junction City Police Department, and a clarification by Joel Gorthy that the grenade had a pin in it, not a key.