Live Artillery Shell Was Souvenir of WWI

Acirca-1916 artillery shell found by a Van Nuys man while he was cutting ivy in his backyard apparently was the property of a neighbor’s grandfather, who brought it back from World War I as a memento, police said Thursday.

“From what I’ve been told, the thing had been there for years in the ivy after the guy next door came back from the war,” Los Angeles police spokesman Willie Wilson said.

The shell, a live 75-millimeter projectile that was designed to be shot out of a cannon, was taken to Woodley Park in Van Nuys, where it was detonated by the police bomb squad.

The shell was found Wednesday night in the 13500 block of Hart Avenue. The find prompted police Thursday to display other artillery shells and explosives at Parker Center for media viewing and to warn residents to contact authorities if they find such devices.

“On 143 separate occasions last year we got calls from people who found live ammunition, and the fact is that these things can blow up very easily,” Wilson said. “Heat, impact, anything could set them off. To say the least, don’t use them as door stops.”