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Newspaper owner finds grenade on desk

ANNA, IL (KFVS) - According to Anna police, at 8:35 a.m. Thursday the owner of the Anna Gazette Democrat called police about what appeared to be a hand grenade on a desk.

Police confirmed that it was a grenade, and the Secretary of State Bomb Squad was called.

They said it was a training grenade. At first it was believed the grenade was live, but later police say that it wasn't.

Around 11:45 a.m. the bomb squad went into the building to remove the grenade.

Anna Police Chief Dale Foster says as of noon, everything was deemed safe and the grenade was out of the building.

Anna Gazette owner Jerry Reppert says he came in to work Thursday morning to find what he believed to be a live grenade on his desk. He called Anna police and then evacuated his 30 employees. They remained out the building for about four hours while authorities investigated and removed the grenade.

Reppert says he now knows the grenade was left for him as a gift by a contracted cleaning person. That person left the grenade there Wednesday night, but failed to leave a note explaining the gift.

Reppert says the Illinois Secretary of State's Bomb Disposal Unit X-rayed the grenade, then detonated the device. It had enough residual powder to explode the device even though a hole had been drilled in the bottom to allow the powder to escape by a previous owner.

The bomb squad was making a final sweep of the building to ensure everything was secure before giving the all clear.

A two block stretch perimeter had been shut down around the Gazette on Lafayette Street for several hours leaving several businesses empty.

Kirk Keene owns a business three-doors down, but was not open yet. He received a call from a friend who's wife works at the paper. He evacuated and called his employees to tell them not to come to work.

Foster says after everything was secured, businesses would be allowed to reopen.

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