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A Sonora, Calif., body shop owner was shell-shocked last week when an employee cleaning out an old shed discovered a 21-inch-long, WWI-era artillery shell. Isaac Leal, one of two owners of The Body Shop for You, told local newspaper The Recorder that the employee found the shell on a shelf that was on the verge of collapsing when he was almost done cleaning the cluttered shed.
"It had rolled, and he caught it," Leal said. Luckily, the 30-lb. shell, which contained decaying explosives and is designed to detonate on impact, didn’t go off.
The local sheriff’s office and a regional bomb squad were called in to identify and get rid of the shell. Research showed that the shell, which was stamped with a 1917 manufacturing date, was packed with hundreds of shrapnel pellets.
"It would have leveled this whole place and a couple of complexes down," Leal said.
A robotic arm was used to gently place the shell in a steel- and concrete-lined containment vessel. The bomb was hauled to an old quarry, where it was buried upright in another container and covered with sandbags. Officials then detonated it.
Leal told The Recorder he had “no idea” how the shell ended up in his shed he bought the business a year ago and assumed the lease on the land where it is located.