Military souvenir kept in family garage for 80 years turns out to be a live bomb

For decades, a Whitman, Mass., family kept a military souvenir in the garage collecting dust.

They had no idea the memento they had for 80 years – stored next to boxes, tools and equipment – was actually a live, pre-World War II-era bomb.

Jeremy Bechen said he found the training bomb when he was cleaning out his family’s garage Saturday morning. His grandfather, he said, brought it home as a keepsake after he served in the Navy in the 1930s.

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Bechen, a chemist, had been told by his parents the bomb was a dummy. But then he looked at it carefully.

“On closer inspection, you can see the charge in there. It seemed pretty real to me,” Bechen told Fox25 in Boston. “It was kind of a heart-skip moment. You look down the tail pipe of it and see, ‘Oh, there’s something in there!’”

He alerted authorities, and police, fire and bomb technicians showed up to collect the device. Bomb technicians detonated it in a remote area across town.

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Jennifer Mieth, a spokeswoman for the State Fire Marshal’s Office, said it is not uncommon for veterans to collect military souvenirs and for family members to find them years or decades later.

“In this case,” she said, “the souvenir was an old practice bomb that was determined to be live.”

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