While completing a residential gas call late in the afternoon Nov. 24 at a residence on Spruce Street, Atmos Energy employee Randy Dallke was stopped in the alley by a man clearing property out of a garage at a nearby residence.
“He came over to me and said, ‘Here, take this, one of my kids found it in there.’ He was pointing at the garage where he was working,” Dallke said. “I looked at what he had in his hand, and it was a live grenade.
“The pin was still in it and the thing was intact,” he said. “I took it over to the Fifth Street ball diamond so it wouldn’t be near any residences and called the police.”
A Peabody police officer contacted the Fort Riley Demolition Department and they sent a squad to transport the hand grenade to Fort Riley, where it was later detonated.
“We have a couple of choices when it comes to handling something like this,” Peabody Police Chief Bruce Burke said. “We can contact Fort Riley or we can call the Sedgwick County Bomb Squad. Since it was military ordnance, we went with Fort Riley.”
Dallke said he did not know the exact era of the hand grenade, but thought it was probably from the Vietnam War.
“Oddly enough, this is the third hand grenade I have seen in Peabody,” he said. “One was in a house I bought and was cleaning out, and the other, like this one, showed up on a service call.
“This is the only live one I have seen, however.”
Dallke served as a reserve police officer for the city in the past and has some familiarity with weapons.
Burke said Dallke’s response to the situation was correct, but advised anyone else in the same situation not to try to move the grenade themselves.
“In this case, he knew the grenade was live, but intact. Other people might not have that kind of knowledge or the weapon might be degraded and unstable,” Burke said. “We want people to be cautious if they find weapons or ammunition. The best thing is to make sure it is secure and then call the police or 911.
“This is one of those situations where it is best to just get everyone away and then contact authorities,” he said.
To contact an officer, call Peabody Police Department at (620) 983-2133 or dial 911.