When it comes to law enforcement officers at large, they encounter virtually any scenario on any given day. Maybe one day is full of nothing but various traffic citations, speeding tickets, etc, etc. There are those days though when the call you get requires some special attention. That is the kind of scenario that played earlier this week in Putnam County.

A Bombshell Discovery

On Monday, June 17, 2024, a call went out to law enforcement about a mysterious device that was found by a worker performing excavation work at a property on Juniper Hill Road in the Town of Philipstown. Upon receiving the call, a Sheriff's Deputy from the Putnam County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to the scene.

Emergency and urgency, dialing 911 on smartphone screen.

According to the press release from the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, the worker believed that the mysterious find was an "unexploded mortar device". The worker reportedly had discovered the device while clearing away rocks that had kept it hidden.

Construction worker digging dirt out with the help of crane

Upon arriving on the scene, the Sheriff's Deputy took action, starting with clearing the scene and having all construction workers on the site evacuate the area. Once all workers were off and away from the scene, the Deputy called in for additional support.

Bomb Squad Response

Following the call for additional support, members of the Westchester County Police Hazardous Devices Unit prepared themselves and responded. For those unaware, 'bomb squad' is more or less a nickname for the HDU.

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Once on the scene, bomb squad members executed a plan and were successfully able to remove the device from the scene without incident. After removal, officials continued to examine the device.

According to the press release, officials determined that the device was in fact a mortar shell and it had been there for an exceptionally long time. Estimates place the device to have been from the 1950s and it was ruled to be an "inert military-grade mortar". Inert by definition means "lacking the ability or strength to move", in short, it was a dud.


With the device successfully removed and identified, bomb squad officials conducted a precautionary search of the area for any other potential devices. That search revealed no other devices on the scene and brought an end to what was initially a potentially dangerous scenario.

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