Authorities say novelty military explosives common in East Tenn.

Authorities say novelty military explosives common in East Tennessee

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Novelty military shells and explosives are common in East Tennessee. Many vets bring them home from service as a souvenir. Novelty military shells and explosives are common in East Tennessee. Many vets bring them home from service as a souvenir.
"We make sure they are defused," said Chad McCarter Real Estate and Auction House auctioneer Chad McCarter. "That they are drilled out. That there are no explosives in there." "We make sure they are defused," said Chad McCarter Real Estate and Auction House auctioneer Chad McCarter. "That they are drilled out. That there are no explosives in there."
Dave Provine says he purchased the bombs from Noble Metals in Oak Ridge. Dave Provine says he purchased the bombs from Noble Metals in Oak Ridge.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Many are wondering about the safety of military-style bombs after a Morgan County community was put on lockdown Tuesday because 600 pounds of explosives were discovered on private property.

Federal officials detonated three military-style bombs in a controlled, underground explosion.

Property owner Dave Provine said he bought them as novelty items and did not think they were dangerous.

So how easy is it to buy military bombs, and how can you know if they are safe?

Provine says he purchased the bombs from Noble Metals in Oak Ridge.

The company says they searched their company database, but he is not listed.  They also say they don't sell military type objects.

It is not hard to find similar items for sale.

Several military surplus stories, like Cherokee Military in Knoxville, have different types of dummy military weapons.

"We feel like you're safe when you buy something from one of the Army/Navy surplus stores, but if you're buying from an individual or online, you have no way of knowing," said Knox County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Martha Dooley.

Dooley says 80% of calls their bomb unit receives involve some sort of military-type explosives.

"At least once a week, or sometimes more, we are called out to a scene where a veteran may have died," said Dooley. "The family comes in, they search things in the house, a barn or shed, and they find grenades or other explosive devices that were probably brought back as a souvenir."

Many times those objects end up on auction.
     
"Bombs and those types of things and ammunition, if they are something Class 3 or explosive we can't take it, but we make sure they are defused," said Chad McCarter Real Estate and Auction House auctioneer Chad McCarter. "That they are drilled out. That there are no explosives in there."

Dooley says if anyone ever has a question about the safety of a military item they've purchased, all they need to do is call their local law enforcement to check it out.

"We sure don't want to pass along something that will hurt somebody," said McCarter.

Federal officials are still investigating where the bombs that were found in Morgan County originally came from.

Operators at Noble Metals say they have not been contacted by investigators on the case yet.

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