Buyer beware: Winning bidder of abandoned Bartow storage unit finds live grenade

BARTOW, Fla. - The winning bidder of an abandoned storage unit in Bartow got a bigger surprise than he bargained for.

The buyer found a box that said "Caution: Live Grenade".

"He was pretty shaken up," said Juan Perez, property manager of the New Highlands Self Storage in Bartow.

The buyer and Perez called police and they showed up to investigate. The State Fire Marshal determined there was indeed a live and dangerous grenade inside the box.

Every other month, New Highlands Self Storage holds auctions to get rid of abounded and unpaid units.

Since the rise of reality shows like A&E's Storage Wars, more people are coming out to bid on other people's junk.

Perez has seen it all.

"Normally what we find out of the norm would be somebody's ashes or weapons, but this is the first time I've ever found a grenade," he said.

Part of the fun of bidding on a storage unit is not knowing what you'll find, but authorities say it's also part of the danger.

"This is a lot like buyer beware," said Donna Wood, a Polk County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.

She said this is not the first case in which someone stumbled on something potentially hazardous.

"There could be items that could have been involved in crimes. There have been cases where people have found video clips or photographs that have given us cause to investigate," Wood said.

Wednesday, the State Fire Marshal moved the explosive away from people and detonated it.

They're working to find out how it got in the storage unit and why.

"You just don't know what you're going to find when you open it up!" Perez said.

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