Stranger than fiction: Grenade launcher “donated” at Bradenton Goodwill

Nicholas Mattheys, Staff Writer

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A frightening discovery was made right here in Bradenton last week at the Goodwill on Cortez Road.  Employees found a loaded grenade launcher in their donation pile.

The launcher was an air-soft launcher, similar to those used in paintball and military exercises. The shocking part was that even though the launcher was a simulation style weapon, it was loaded with a live, working grenade.

The launcher resembled a M203 grenade launcher, which is typically attached to an M-16 rifle. But because employees didn’t know what the object was, the Manatee County sheriff department was called to investigate.

According to the sheriff’s office, the grenade is in the Hazmat locker and the actual launcher is located at the Sheriff’s office. Thankfully the grenade and launcher never made it onto the store floor.

Many question whether it was legal to own the grenade launcher, and under Floridian law, it is, though it is illegal to launch anything more explosive than a signal flare out of it.

That begs the question, where did the live grenade come from and why was it left at a goodwill? No suspects have been apprehended, according to the Sheriff’s Office and there are no leads as to who donated it either.

According to the Goodwill manager, Joe Beshures, many unusual donations pile up every year, including firearms, ammunition, and even teeth!  But these objects are never put on sale for the protection and safety of the employees and the community.

Together, the Goodwill and Sheriff’s office will continue to work together to keep the thrift stories of Bradenton safe.

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