Sterling Heights Courthouse, Library Evacuated After Man Arrives With ‘Military Grade Device’

STERLING HEIGHTS (WWJ) – Things are back to normal in Sterling Heights after 41A District Court and the adjacent public library were evacuated Wednesday due to a scare involving a “military grade device.”

Police said a man brought the object — described as an old mortar shell — in a van, which he parked in the lot outside the police department and the court building, on Dodge Park Road at Utica Road.

Police Chief John Berg said the man told an officer at the front desk that he wanted to dispose of it.

“He knew it had been there for 60, 65 years. His brother used to work, or was part of the Michigan National Guard — back in the late-50s, early 60s — and brought it home for some reason back 65 years ago,” Berg said. “Today he just felt it was the right time to bring it in to the police department, the right day. It’s a nice day.”

“Very concerned,” police immediately secured a perimeter around the man’s vehicle, Berg said. The area surrounding the complex was cordoned off while the Michigan State Police bomb squad was called in to investigate.

Berg said, in this case, the object turned out to be inert. The bomb squad determined it was likely a practice mortar, with no actual primer or explosive material inside.

The chief had this advice for residents regarding possible explosives:

“If you find something like this in your house, leave it there, let us come out, ascertain if it’s safe or not and we’ll call the experts,” Berg said. “Do not bring it, do not transfer it, do not move it.”

The scene had cleared by around 2 p.m. The court canceled the reminded of the docket for the day, but the library has reopened. No one was injured.

Note: Police early told WWJ that nearby Stevenson High School had also been evacuated, but that information was later corrected to report that students were released early.

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