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“Be careful about what you donate!” Grenade-like device leads to evacuation, Bomb Squad response at Goodwill

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MENOMONEE FALLS (WITI) -- Goodwill thrives on your donations -- but a donation to the Menomonee Falls Goodwill store led to evacuations on Wednesday, August 6th! The Milwaukee Police Department's Bomb Squad was called in, after employees discovered what looked like a grenade.

Police say management staff at the Goodwill store on Water Tower Place in Menomonee Falls reported the suspicious item taken in as a donation around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. A Goodwill Marketing representative told FOX6 News it is believed the item was dropped off on Tuesday night.

The item was described as a “grenade,” but investigating officers were unable to determine whether the item was in fact an explosive or a novelty item intended to look like an explosive.

Working with store management, and erring on the side of caution, the store was evacuated for a short time while the Milwaukee Police Department's Bomb Squad  responded.

The neighborhood surrounding Goodwill was not affected by these precautions, and the store soon returned to normal business.

The Bomb Squad safely destroyed the item at a safe location away from the store, and found that it was not an explosive device.

"Donations of this sort are very unusual. It was inside other donations. You're not going to know, at that very moment, what is in every single box," Goodwill Assistant Manager Jessica Gonzalez-Moore said.

Gonzalez-Moore says the grenade-like device came in a box full of other stuff.

"Books and miscellaneous items, so nothing would seem unusual," Gonzalez-Moore said.

Management officials tell FOX6 News there was also a knife -- possibly military in nature and a large ammunition casing.

Goodwill officials say they figure whoever donated the box either didn't realize the grenade-like object was inside, or they didn't figure the Bomb Squad would be called in, and the store would be evacuated.

"It's a little bit of a concern and a hassle, to say the least," Gonzalez-Moore said.

"You should just call ahead of time and let them know, so there is no issue," Goodwill customer Jackie Hill said.

"This is unusual. It doesn't happen often, which we are grateful for, but it is a good reminder to be careful about what you donate,"

Members of the public are asked to be reminded that items of curiosity, conversation pieces, and other novelty items can be misinterpreted by those not familiar with their origin.

Police say they are interested in finding the person who donated the item -- to simply tell them to be more mindful of what they are choosing to donate.

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