The Antique Seller Thought It Was Inert. It Wasn't

WWII-era MK2 grenade killed a Virginia teen in December
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2021 12:08 PM CST
Decades-Old Grenade Killed Teen Before Christmas
An MK2 grenade is shown.   (Getty Images)

A Virginia teen was killed on Dec. 23 when a decades-old hand grenade exploded. The New York Times reports the World War II-era device was thought to have been purchased in June from the Fancy Flea Antique Mall in Shallotte, NC. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has investigated, but much remains unclear, including who possessed the MK2 grenade before it reached the mall, whether the teen was the one who bought it, and how many others the same vendor sold at the time. What is known: "At the time of sale, neither the vendor nor buyer(s) believed the grenades to be functioning or hazardous," said the agency in a statement, per the Charlotte Observer.

The ATF expressed concern that others sold by that vendor could also still contain explosive material. The mall said it was aware of only one other one that was sold by the vendor; "we all felt that the grenade was inert," it said, per the Times. The agency says a grenade sold by the mall on June 13 hasn't been tracked down, though it's actively looking for it, reports WLOS. It's unclear if that grenade is the same one the mall is referencing. The Times cites an explosives expert who says the MK2 grenade produces an explosion that kills within 16 feet of the device. The Abingdon teen's name wasn't made public. (More grenade stories.)

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