Treasure Hunters Bring Likely Korean War–Era Mortar to Bar, Prompting Bomb Squad Deployment

Members of a bomb squad located in northern Minnesota showed up at a local bar on Sunday afternoon May 16 to investigate a police report that several patrons were showing off a mortar round that they had recovered from a river earlier that day. Once they had confirmed the report, the squad removed the explosive device from the premises, according to a press release issued by the Wadena County sheriff's office.

One of the patrons called the Wadena County sheriff's office at 3:31 p.m. to inform the deputies on duty that he and several companions had found a mortar round while scanning for metal near the Shell City Bridge and taken it to Nimrod Bar in the town of Nimrod, according to the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Located in Wadena County, Nimrod is named after the biblical king. While it has a population of 69, it is still listed on most maps, according to Economic Alliance Minnesota, a nonprofit that works to raise awareness of the need for economic development in Wadena County and the city of New York Mills.

The Twin Cities Pioneer Press seemingly identified the treasure hunters as men.

In response, the sheriff's office dispatched several deputies to the bar to check out the claim. Once the deputies had pieced together the story by speaking with patrons, the sheriff's office contacted the nearest of Minnesota's four bomb squads, the Crow Wing County Bomb Squad, to request assistance.

When the bomb squad arrived at the bar, it repossessed the rust-covered round. It is estimated to date back to the Korean War, according to the press release. In a photo shared by the Wadena County sheriff's office on Facebook, the object appears intact but severely dilapidated. Moss covers one side of its body.

"At the time of them taking possession of the mortar, it is unknown if the device was still live or not," the press release reads.

However, officials were taking no chances. They have since disposed of the mortar in "a safe manner," according to the press release.

In 2018, a resident of Rowlett, Texas, unwittingly transported a mortar round that was contained in a metal box from a recently acquired secondary home to the town. When he opened the box, he discovered the World War II–era explosive device and called the police. Officers arrived to supervise an emergency evacuation of the area before safely detonating the mortar in a remote field.

A man holds a live grenade.
A man holds a live grenade. A device with similar explosive capabilities was found in a Minnesota river over the weekend. RAUL ARBOLEDA/Getty Images