Grenade discovered in field at Van Hoosen Farms found to be a replica

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published April 6, 2021

 A replica of a rifle grenade used in World War II was found on the grounds at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm.

A replica of a rifle grenade used in World War II was found on the grounds at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm.

Photo provided by the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm

Advertisement

ROCHESTER HILLS — The Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm is secure after a grenade was discovered on the grounds March 22, according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office’s Rochester Hills substation were called to the museum grounds, 1005 Van Hoosen Road, at around 11 a.m. on a report that a grenade had been found in an empty field.

Museum Manager Pat McKay said a contractor working on improving a drain at the edge of the property made the discovery.

“We’re working on improving that drain right now, so that’s why we were kicking around in there, and because the grass has all died down right now, this is probably the only time of the year that you could possibly see it. Our contractor was actually checking the area out and informed me that he saw something that looked very suspicious,” he explained. “We just called 911 right away, and honestly, within a minute, I had deputies on the scene already.”

Deputies met with McKay and the manager of the construction company who found the grenade while performing work at the farm.

“It was discovered by a survey crew, and when we arrived, until we knew better, we treated it like the real thing. It’s always safe to err on the side of caution, like your parents taught ya,” said Capt. Bart Wilson, from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office’s Rochester Hills substation. “In this case, because we thought it was a possible mortar round, you maintain a distance and cautiously try to see if there are any serial numbers to match up with what a real mortar type looks like.”

After securing the scene, deputies called the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad, which includes a team of 15 members assigned to seven regional teams that respond to about 500 calls for service each year.

Wilson said a representative from the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad, who lives in the area, determined the device was a replica of a rifle grenade used in World War II and the Korean War.

In 2013, McKay said, Van Hoosen Farms hosted a World War II reenactment to celebrate the anniversary of the war with German and American reenactors.

“It didn’t dawn on me that this could be part of the World War II reenactment we had on our property in 2013. I kind of forgot about that,” he said. “On the side, it did say the word grenade, so we were concerned. You just never know how people dispose of things — we certainly didn’t want anything to happen to people, pets or our buildings — but fortunately, it was a dud.”

The MSP Bomb Squad removed the device from the property and later properly disposed of it.

“The good news is, when we needed help and weren’t sure what to do, we had lots of resources to turn to, and everything was safe and everybody’s mind was at ease within an hour of the whole thing starting,” McKay said. “At the end of the day, it’s a fun story to tell. But we took it really seriously. You almost have to nowadays.”

Wilson said it’s always a good idea to call local law enforcement if you find something suspicious.

“I’m just glad it wasn’t the real thing,” Wilson added. “The survey crew did the right thing calling the police. When in doubt, call local law enforcement, and we’ll make sure everybody is safe.”

Advertisement