Police collect explosive war "souvenirs"

Grenades are among the more common items found by the IMPD Bomb Squad.

Investigators in Indianapolis in recent weeks have discovered grenades in a house and a rocket in a tree, raising concerns over what other explosives may be in homes around the city.

A Russian mortar round was the most recent find of the IMPD Bomb Squad.

"It was recovered in a tree in the front yard," said Bob Brown with the bomb squad.

At the same place, they found another mortar inside the house. Both rounds were x-rayed and deemed to be safe.

Bringing home souvenirs from war is as old as war itself. But what veterans have been bringing back is a cause of concern for the bomb squad.

"Some of this stuff could have a fuse," Brown said.

Everyday, 1,800 U.S. military veterans pass away and the souvenirs that were put in a box are often forgotten about until after the soldier's funeral.

"A lot of this stuff is items that came back with a family member who was in the military, then passed away, then a family member is going and cleaning out their home and they find this stuff," Brown said.

Nearly 100 years ago, grenades made for the Army in Indianapolis were given to soldiers fighting in the first and second World Wars. More than a few came back to Indiana.

"A lot of World War II vets brought back a lot of souvenirs," Brown said.

Grenades are the most common souvenir brought back from a war. Brown has at least four big boxes of grenades he and others have recovered over the years. Most of them are harmless, but they have found live ones.

"This is a Japanese actual rifle grenade that was live at one time," Brown said.

The bomb squad's collection grows more ominous.

"These two were actually recovered in Hendricks County under a county bridge. Found these two sticking out of the sand underneath the bridge," Brown said.

Gerald Fish served in the infantry during the later years of the Vietnam War. He saw souvenir collecting. He says souvenirs are a reminder - and proof - that you were there.

"You are still physically and mentally in that point of no return, because you have been there," Fish said.

He says some things are better left where you found them.

"There is some that they will always remember it," Fish said.

If you have concerns about a souvenir left behind by a relative, do not move it and call police.