‘Oh crap’ | Brenham business owner finds live grenade in box of bayonets

Joe Smith said he picked up the German WWI grenade and turned it over. That’s when he realized it wasn’t a dud.

BRENHAM, Texas — Joe Smith of JMS Tactical picked up a box of items he had recently purchased from an estate sale and began to go through it Wednesday afternoon. The box had been sitting on the floor since Monday and he was finally able to start going through his merchandise.

Smith is a collector of antique weapons and was carefully sorting through the box.

“On this last load we also had a box of bayonets and I was unpacking the bayonets and then the bottom of the bayonets box was the live German WWI hand grenade.”

Smith said the grenade was more than 100 years old and he carefully turned it over. He said grenades that have a hole in the bottom are deactivated. “It’s just a paperweight,” he said.

What came next was shock.

“When I turned the thing over, and there was no hole in it, I knew it was a live device. So my reaction was ‘oh crap.’ What are we doing here?” he said.

Smith said this type of explosive has a lethal range of 14-15 yards, but it could even be deadly from 30 yards away.

“If that device had gone off, it would have blown out all the windows in this store,” Smith said. “Probably blown holes in the ceiling and potentially that wall.”

Smith said he could also see the detonator was broken in half, making it more unstable. So he did the only thing he could do. He called the Brenham Police Department for help.

They next called the College Station Bomb Squad. Brenham police and fire departments then cleared a large area around the store out of caution. Smith said he could not thank all of the law enforcement officers and first responders enough who were involved in securing the weapon.

“I think everybody involved did their diligence and did what they needed to do. The bomb squad from College Station they were great,” Smith said. “They came in and they examined the device. They X-rayed it and they’re like, ‘hey, you guys. Made the right call. This device is live’.”

Smith said after his experience, he’s going to be checking the shipments before they come into his store.

Written By: Jordan Adams KAGS Bryan, Texas

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