A local pawn shop owner spoke with the Commerce Journal on Tuesday about a live mortar that was brought into his store innocuously the previous day.
According to Ken Bishop, owner of B6UP Pawn & Gun in Commerce, a woman had been coming by frequently while trying to settle her late brother’s estate, taking his items in for appraisal. He said that the patron came by Monday, bringing a few items, including a dark green canister.
“I saw the canister was labelled as a 60 millimeter M50 mortar,” Bishop said. “I opened it, and you could see the fins sticking out.”
Bishop said that the patron had no idea that it was an explosive.
“She had no clue, she just went ‘Oh my God!’” Bishop said. “She said she had this thing in her house for about six months.”
The pawnbroker says that the round is probably from World War II, and that that he was surprised when he first saw it.
“I spent some time overseas and I knew what that was,” Bishop said. “I was shocked and a bit nervous about it at first, but I am glad that it was disposed of properly and no one was hurt.”
“It is definitely one of the most interesting things that has ever come into my store,” Bishop continued. “Other pawn shop guys heard about it and just couldn’t believe it.”
The business has a sense of humor over the ordeal, posting to its official Facebook page Tuesday: “Christmas special: Our deals are EXPLODING! We will blow the roof off with our prices! Come Shop B6Up Pawn, we da bomb.”
Army personnel from Fort Hood were called into Commerce to dispose of the round Monday night. At around 10:15 p.m., the bomb was transported to city-owned property on Ross Street for detonation.
The mortar was safely detonated inside of a containment device shortly after 11 p.m. A small crater was visible at the back end of the property on Tuesday morning.