14-year-old finds WWII era mortar while doing yard work
POSTED: Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 11:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 11:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A 14-year-old Pennsylvania boy doing yard work uncovered a World War II-era bomb Monday near his Lebanon County home.
Tyler Varvel said he was spraying to keep weeds down on a bank at the edge of the family yard when he saw something unusual.
"It was shiny, so I flicked it up with my shoe and it landed right here. It was a bomb, or a mortar or something," Tyler Varvel said.
He took a picture with his cellphone, stepped away from the mortar and called his mom, who just happened to be near the state police barracks in Lickdale and went in to get help.
"The lady at the desk, her eyes got kind of big and said, 'Oh yes.' I said I don't know what you call it, maybe it's a bomb, but we found it in our back yard," said Lora Varvel.
State police said they followed Lora Varvel to her home and quickly shut down the roadway to traffic.
Police moved a growing number of people away from the device.
"They kept telling everybody to step back little further," Lora Varvel said.
Members of the State Police Bomb Detection and Disposal Unit used an X-ray device to determine the mortar was inert and not a live round.
The practice round may have been left behind by someone decades ago, police said.
A spokesman for the Pennsylvania National Guard said there is no reason to believe the round came from previous training exercises at Fort Indiantown Gap, nor were these types of mortars used in training.
The Varvel family said they are glad it's gone.
They said it caused some excitement for a few hours.
State police said the World War II-era mortar will be turned over to experts at Fort Indiantown Gap for disposal.