Last week, an ordinary day at a Goodwill thrift store in Janesville, Wisconsin, took a terrifying turn when employees discovered ammunition and a live explosive device, identified as a “cluster bomblet,” among donated items. This shocking find led to the immediate evacuation of a city block and a frantic search for the donor responsible.

During a routine inventory check on Friday morning, Janesville Goodwill staff came across the potentially lethal items. Quick thinking and adherence to safety protocols prompted the store and donation center management to evacuate the building, safeguarding shoppers, donors, and employees. The Dane County Bomb Squad was called in to assess and safely remove the explosive device, leading to a two-and-a-half-hour evacuation.

Thankfully, no injuries were reported, but the incident has left authorities searching for the individual behind the dangerous donation. The Janesville Police Department issued a statement urging residents in possession of “old military ordinances” to contact them for safe disposal.

Cluster munitions have been globally banned since 2010 under the United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions, defining them as “a conventional munition designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions, each weighing less than 20 kilograms.”

This incident is a stark reminder of the potential risks associated with handling donated items and the importance of vigilance. The swift response of Goodwill employees and law enforcement prevented a potentially catastrophic event. As the investigation continues, the community anxiously awaits answers.