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Bomb Squad Detonates Old Artillery Shell Found in Cold Spring

Bomb Squad Detonates Old Artillery Shell Found in Cold Spring

By Christopher South

Shown is an unexploded 75mm artillery shell found by landscapers working on a property in Lower Township south of the Cape May Canal. The Atlantic City Bomb Squad transported it to a portion of the beach near the state park and detonated it.
Courtesy Lower Township Police Department
Shown is an unexploded 75mm artillery shell found by landscapers working on a property in Lower Township south of the Cape May Canal. The Atlantic City Bomb Squad transported it to a portion of the beach near the state park and detonated it.

COLD SPRING – Landscapers working at a private home in the Cold Spring section of Lower Township, Sept. 6, unearthed what turned out to be a 75mm artillery shell.

The shell, of unknown age and origin, was described in the police report as rusted and with a deteriorated core.

John Stratis said he hired a landscaping company and another company that was doing irrigation work at his Taylor Lane home. One of the workers uncovered the shell, which they put off to the side. Stratis said he saw the shell and asked about it, and one of the workers said, “Oh yeah, we found that.”

Stratis immediately called the Lower Township Police Department (LTPD), and two officers came out and saw what they determined to be unexploded ordnance. The officers called their supervisors, and several more officers arrived; they decided to call the Atlantic City Police Department’s Bomb Squad.

The Bomb Squad asked about a location where the shell could be safely detonated, and it was transported to the beach in Cape May Point near the World War II bunker, where the sand would absorb any blast. The LTPD report said the Bomb Squad dug a small hole for the shell and covered it with sand and then exploded the device.

Stratis said the house, which they moved into in May, is brand new.

“They used a fair amount of fill around the house, and the landscaper said they filter all their fill,” he said.

The construction company probably used fill as well, Stratis said, but could not tell him where it came from.

“The conjecture is that (the shell) came from somewhere else,” Stratis said, not that it was left there years ago.

He said he thought there was a report of several such shells being found in the area in 2021. A search of the Herald website shows that in March 2021, a homeowner on Washington Boulevard in North Cape May found a similar 75mm shell in his yard. That shell also was eliminated by the Atlantic City Bomb Squad.

When asked if he was concerned whether there were more unexploded rounds on his property, Stratis said, “Well, yes,” but added that he had not taken further action on the matter.

In September 2014, according to the Herald’s archives, a Del Haven man found what turned out to be an unexploded mortar “dummy” round and took it to the Lower Township police station at the Cape May County Airport.

Capt. Charles Ryan from the LTPD said the department has advice for anyone who finds what appears to be military ordnance on their property.

“Don’t touch it,” Ryan said. “Get away from it. Clear the area and make the call to the police. We always act on the side of caution, and the (Atlantic City) Bomb Squad will come down, and if it’s nothing, better safe than sorry.”

Contact the author, Christopher South, at csouth@cmcherald.com or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.

Reporter

Christopher South is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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