Brookfield police closed down a 47th Street car wash for about 45 minutes on the morning of April 4 after a maintenance worker there discovered a live hand grenade on the floor of one of the car wash bays.
The World War II-style “pineapple” fragmentation grenade never detonated, but police said its improvised firing mechanism had been struck at some point — but it didn’t blow up.
A 49-year-old maintenance worker at Spirit of America Car Wash, 9312 47th St., called police at 11:05 a.m. to report his find. He had been cleaning the bay and saw what appeared to be a rock on the floor. According to police, the maintenance man said it was only when he kicked the object that he realized it wasn’t a rock.
There were three customers at the car wash when police arrived, and they were evacuated from the premises while officers cordoned off the business and contacted the Cook County Bomb Squad, which arrived within a half hour.
The county bomb technician told police the grenade was active. The device was filled with some sort of substance, and a small caliber bullet was inserted at the top of the grenade as a blasting cap.
According to Brookfield Police Lt. Edward Petrak, the technician told him that he had run across about 30 similar improvised grenades in the past year.
“He said gangbangers have been leaving them in different places,” Petrak said.
It’s unclear how the grenade got there or how long it’s been there. The grenade had white paint on one side and appeared to be rusted in spots.
The bomb squad recovered the grenade and took away for disposal at their facility, police said.