Muddy find sends teen angler to police pronto Munitions uncovered in Pasadena park

April 19, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

Brandon Edge knew it was time to call police when he scraped some mud from the device he found embedded in a lake in a Pasadena park and read its warning: "Face toward enemy."

What the 15-year-old had found while fishing at Lake Waterford Park was a Claymore anti-personnel mine, along with several other Army explosives.

"A Claymore mine would be extremely dangerous, possibly lethal, if it had a detonator on it," said Bob Thomas, spokesman for the state fire marshal.

"Either way," Mr. Thomas said, "it is not something we want the public to handle."

Brandon, who was fishing for catfish Saturday with his girlfriend, Kim Raynor, thought he had found a bag of toys. "I thought it was just something kids threw back there," he said. "But then I realized that toys don't look like this."

The Essex youth put the bag down, walked to his father's house and called police, who came and called the fire department. They called bomb experts from Fort Meade, who ordered the park evacuated and took the bag of unexploded ordnance away.

In addition to the Claymore anti-personnel mine, Brandon found six "trip flares," used to locate enemy soldiers; four blocks of C-4 plastic explosive; three wire firing devices and two rolls of trip wire.

Police said the ordnance was in an olive-colored bag partly submerged in the lake within several feet of the shore. A new dam is being built in the area, and the water level is lower than usual.

Authorities said they believe the ordnance was stolen, but Army officials would not comment on their investigation yesterday.

Brandon said he was searching for a new spot to fish when he came across the bag sticking out of mud in a cove. He looked in and found three wires wrapped in tight coils.

"I was like, this is pretty weird," Brandon said, adding that he slowly emptied the bag and carefully examined the items inside.

He said small pieces of plastic -- he later learned they were explosives -- were wrapped in a T-shirt, as if someone were trying to keep them dry. He put the items back and carried the bag about 100 feet to his original fishing spot.

There, he went through it again, finding a small tube of green camouflage paint. He even took out the anti-personnel mine and wiped it clean. He was holding it up toward his face when he rubbed the mud off and read the warning.

"I want to stress to parents that children should never play with suspected explosives or something out of the ordinary," Mr. Thomas said. "We have seen children injured by playing with explosives."

Brandon said a police officer told him he was lucky when he returned to the park later in the day.

"I was going to ask them if I could have the tube of paint, but they had closed the park off," he said. "I was talking to a policeman and he said the Army said it was still active. I was like, 'Oh God.' I was carrying that stuff like it was nothing, and now even the police wouldn't touch it."

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