While she was cleaning out the garage of a recently deceased neighbor around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 30th, in the 6900 block of Trolley Way in Playa del Rey, Karen Nelson stumbled upon some unique objects — Civil War-era cannonballs.
Eight rusted antique cannonballs were inside a cardboard box. Some were two inches in diameter, others six inches, according to Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Detective Jim Joy of the Los Angeles Police Department Bomb Squad, which was called to the scene.
Joy said that some of the cannonballs contained a fuse and were sealed at the top, indicating that there might be an explosive material inside the cannonball.
Not aware if the cannonballs were still hazardous or how to dispose of them, Nelson called the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
Two officers responded and identified some of the cannonballs as “unsafe” and called the LAPD Bomb Squad.
Nelson said that the cannonballs, which rattled when shaken, were deemed unsafe by the LAPD officers.
The rattling was most likely gunpowder and pellets inside the cannonballs, LAPD Bomb Squad officers said.
The officers then evacuated surrounding neighbors from the area and cordoned off the street.
The bomb squad took the unsafe cannonballs onto the adjacent beach and detonated them.
Nelson does not know why her neighbor had the cannonballs or where she acquired them.
She believes that her neighbor found the cannonballs while scuba diving, since she was an avid diver and had dived for about 30 years in the Caribbean.
Although residents in the area had been evacuated when the cannonballs were detonated on the beach in the 6900 block of Trolley Way, Nelson says they heard “some very impressive explosions.”