Grenade and mortar found in Dunedin retirement home are duds

DUNEDIN — The moving company called up John Freeborn on Wednesday and told him to come get two items they'd found: a mortar and a grenade.

"They wanted me to deal with it," Freeborn said. "They assured me that if it had a pin in it it's not dangerous."

Freeborn, 48, got the call because he handles the affairs of 102-year-old Helen Garrett, who lives in the Mease Manor in Dunedin.

The movers were transferring her belongings from one room to another when they found the grenade and mortar.

When they put the items in Freeborn's hands, he drove them over to the district office of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office nearby at 737 Louden Ave.

Once inside the office, he told the deputy on duty what he had.

"He was more than a little surprised," Freeborn said of the deputy. "He was quite concerned. (He) asked me where it was; I said 'It's in this box.' He told me to get out of the building."

The ordnance was placed out in a field until the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office bomb squad could arrive. The two items, it turned out, were duds.

Freeborn asked Garrett about the mortar and grenade, but he said she didn't know they were in her apartment.

He said Garrett has been living in the facility since 1973. It contains independent, assisted living and nursing home units.

Jonathan Abel can be reached at jabel@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

Grenade and mortar found in Dunedin retirement home are duds 01/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 15, 2009 8:24pm]

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