Crime

A neighbor asked to clean a home finds a grenade in the oven

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad was called out after a suspected grenade was found in the mobile home behind the deputy at K & K Mobile Home Park.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad was called out after a suspected grenade was found in the mobile home behind the deputy at K & K Mobile Home Park. ttomkins@bradenton.com

A neighbor helping to clean a vacated mobile home discovered a grenade strapped to a package with a highly flammable substance Saturday morning, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

The device was removed safely, and no injuries were reported.

The 82-year-old resident of the mobile home in K&K Mobile Home Park, 4918 14th St. W., Bradenton, had moved out on Thursday, when his 56-year-old son came and took him back to Lufkin, Texas, with him, according to a news release.

Before they left, the son asked a neighbor to clean up the mobile home and pack up all of his father’s belongings, the release said.

On Saturday morning, the neighbor opened the home’s oven and found a pineapple-style grenade strapped to a package with duct tape, deputies said.

One of the gas burners on the stove was turned on, but the flame was not lit, the neighbor told deputies. The neighbor shut off the burner and left the mobile home.

The sheriff’s office was called, and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad and the Manatee County hazardous materials team responded. Authorities said the smell of leaking natural gas was noticeable throughout the mobile home.

The bomb squad confirmed that the device was a grenade and that the substance secured to the grenade was highly flammable nitrocellulose in solid form.

The sheriff’s office contacted the Lufkin Police Department in Texas, which was then able to contact the resident and his son.

The son was “understanding and cooperative assisting in any further searches necessary,” according to the release.

The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office in Texas was notified and along with Lufkin police will be handling “any further issues” with the father.

K&K community manager John Va Houten said that around 9 a.m. Saturday, the man who lived in the mobile home was moving out and neighbors were helping him clean up when the suspicious object was discovered.

For hours, deputies and firefighters were seen walking in and out of the mobile home. Inside, a police K-9 was used to search the home, and no other explosive devices were located, authorities said.

Deputies had encouraged residents in the surrounding mobile homes to evacuate the area, but many refused.

“I’ve been walking around trying to keep people away,” Va Houten said.

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