Couple Stuck Inside for Hours After Finding Live, 'Extremely Volatile' WWII-Era Japanese Bomb

·2 min read

Pamela Coffey

A Missouri couple cleaning up their yard got way more than they bargained for when they stumbled upon a World War II-era bomb from Japan — and brought it inside their home, unaware that it was still live.

Sam Coffey and his wife Pamela Lovett were working in their yard in Barnhart on Saturday when Lovett came upon something shaped like a cylinder, the couple told NBC affiliate KSDK.

It was slightly larger than her hand, and left rust marks on her gardening gloves, so she took it inside to give it a clean.

"She sees this Japanese lettering on it. The next thing you know, I'm sitting at our dining room table scraping on it with a steak knife trying to clean it out," Coffey told the outlet. "We're trying to figure out what the heck this thing is when from the kitchen she yells, 'Stop! I think that might be a bomb!'"

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Using the Google Lens app, the couple tried to identify their mysterious find, which Coffey initially thought might be a deep sea diving weight, he told NBC News.

Their internet search soon alerted them that they might be holding onto something a bit more dangerous, so they called police, who confirmed their suspicions: not only was it a bomb, but it was still live.

"They took it away in this huge blast-proof truck. I guess because it was so old, it was extremely volatile, so it had to be handled with extra precaution," Coffey told NBC News.

Coffey and Lovett were reportedly told to stay inside and away from all doors and windows for several hours as multiple agencies arrived on the scene and scoured the surrounding area for anything else that might pose a danger.

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The St. Louis Regional Bomb and Arson Unit eventually removed the bomb, which they said had a 500-foot blast range, from their property, KSDK reported.

A spokesperson for Scott Air Force Base said the bomb has since been safely detonated, according to NBC News.

"I am incredibly grateful to be able to stand here and tell the story with all of my limbs still attached. This is why women live longer than men, because here I am, scraping a bomb with a steak knife when my wife makes me stop and call the sheriff's department!" Coffey told KSDK. "I'm very grateful to my wife right now. I do have life insurance so I guess she's kind of missing out."

While an explanation as to how the bomb ended up in his backyard remains unclear, Coffey reportedly said the find has sparked his interest in World War II history.