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Grenade found in sound

By Lisa Neff, Islander Reporter

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office destroyed a live grenade found July 11 in about 4 feet of water off the bay shore in Anna Maria.

The grenade still contained a pin, but was so corroded that it likely could not have detonated, said MCSO spokesman Dave Bristow.

The MCSO, in a police report, classified the incident as a case of “found property.”

At about 6 p.m. July 11, two tourists — while searching for sand dollars and shells along the shore of Anna Maria Sound in the 800 block of North Shore Drive — came across the grenade.

The MCSO, which polices Anna Maria, responded. Deputies assigned to the city were the first to the scene and put up crime-scene tape around the beach chair that contained the recovered grenade. Lt. Gary Sammons of the bomb squad followed deputies to the scene to remove the explosive device.

Two residences in the area were evacuated as a precaution, according to Bristow.

The MCSO on July 12 destroyed the grenade, along with two other recovered grenades that had been in the MCSO’s possession.

Bristow said the pineapple grenade probably was from the World War II era.

During that period, the north end of Anna Maria Island was used for training operations and was the site of a radar base and U.S. Coast Guard officers were stationed throughout the Island to protect the shore from possible invasion.

Military-related operations also took place on Egmont and Passage keys. During WWII, Egmont Key was the site of a harbor patrol station and an ammunition storage facility.

Additionally, said the MCSO, grenades from the WWII, Korean and Vietnam eras have been kept as memorabilia. Two years ago, the MCSO collected a dead grenade from a home in Holmes Beach. That grenade had been in the family for years, and was forgotten until a cat began using it as a toy.

Bristow said the grenade found July 11 by Georgia tourists Mitchell Lee and Jason Waldron was in the water a long time.

“We believe it’s been out there for many, many years,” Bristow said.

Waldron came across the device and called out to Lee, who thought his friend was joking. Waldron had been using his feet to find shells while Lee and others in their party were bobbing around in the bay south of the Rod & Reel Pier.

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