10/19/11 — EOD neutralizes 'bomb' again

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EOD neutralizes 'bomb' again

By Kenneth Fine And Gary Popp
Published in News on October 19, 2011 1:46 PM

It started as a search for stolen property -- a bundle of firearms local law enforcement officials believed might have been dumped in a body of water off Napoleon Road.

But shortly after members of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office Dive Team got wet, they made a find that quickly transformed a routine operation into a dicey situation.

Members of the 4th Fighter Wing Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight were mobilized late Tuesday morning after a live mortar round was unexpectedly discovered in that body of water.

And within a few hours, the team from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base had successfully neutralized yet another threat to those who live in the communities outside the installation gates.

Tuesday's event marks the fifth time EOD airmen have been called on by officials outside the gate this year.

In January, a pipe bomb was found by a Department of Correction cleanup crew along U.S. 70, just two miles west of the Rosewood Walmart near Riverbend Road.

And just a month later, the unit was mobilized again when an envelope containing a cellular phone prompted the lockdown of the area immediately surrounding two post office drop boxes located near the intersection of Eastgate and Cashwell Drives.

Then, in June, another unexpected find prompted a response -- when David and Susan Crooks started working to restore an antique sewing machine, they discovered what was later identified as a live grenade that dates back to World War I.

But the threat that created the biggest stir unfolded the day after the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when more than 100 people were evacuated from the Wayne County Courthouse after a device that appeared to be a bomb was found on the property.

The mortar found Tuesday appeared to have been there "a long time," Sheriff's Office Maj. Tom Effler said.

And base officials confirmed that it was an 81-mm round -- a weapon used by the U.S. military through World War II, until it was replaced by the longer-range M29 Mortar.