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Grenade found at River's Edge

Campers at River's Edge campground were happy when one potentially explosive incident turned out to be a dud this Fourth of July afternoon.

Officers from the Somerset Police Department and the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office were called to the campground to remove Anthony Bruce Bartz, age 27 of West St. Paul, Minn. and to give him a courtesy ride back to Minnesota. A routine weapons check of his belongings revealed a hand grenade in Bartz's backpack, according to Jeff Klatt, St. Croix County Sheriff's Department field services captain.

Somerset officers and St. Croix County deputies cleared the area around the grenade, clearing an approximately 50-foot radius around the location of the grenade, to keep the approximately 1,500 people present away from the device.

St. Croix County Sheriff's deputies called for assistance, and were aided by the Somerset Police Department, the New Richmond Fire Department and a bomb-disposal unit from St. Paul, Minn. Klatt said Wisconsin Emergency Management called in the St. Paul bomb squad as they were the closest agency available at the time. The bomb squad arrived at 5:45 p.m.

Approximately three minutes later, Klatt said, the bomb-disposal unit deemed the grenade non-active.

According to Klatt, the grenade had been hollowed out and the explosive material removed. Klatt said Bartz had been using the grenade's shell as a knob for a vehicle's gear-shift mechanism.

No one was injured in the incident, Klatt said.

Klatt said alcohol has not been deemed a factor in the incident at this point.

Bartz was charged with disorderly conduct on Friday, July 5, and released on a $1,000 signature bond. His next court date is Aug. 29.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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