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Bomb unit detonates device discovered on beach

By Staff | Apr 14, 2009

A suspicious item discovered Easter morning was detonated on the property behind the Sanibel Police Department by members of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Unit, but responders were not able to determine exactly what the device was.
According to a police report released Monday, Richard McCurry, the owner of Sanibel Cafe, discovered a small device while strolling along Lighthouse Beach on the east end of the island.
“I was just walking along the beach and I saw something shiny sticking up out of the sand,” he said, adding that he initially thought the item was a bottle. “It was mostly submerged and covered in green algae. It looked like it had been there a while, but when I pulled it out, I kinda knew what it was.”
With his background as a hunter, McCurry recognized that the bottom of the device appeared to have a triggering mechanism, much like that of a bullet. However, he was not worried about the item exploding.
“That thing was probably rolling around in the water for years, banging against the cement slabs around the fishing pier and stuff, so I knew it was probably safe to handle,” McCurry said. “I wanted to remove it from the beach because I knew that if I were a kid, I’d probably want to bring it home and take it apart. That could’ve been dangerous.”
He immediately brought the item — described as a metallic black cylinder, approximately 6 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter — to the parking lot of Tahitian Gardens, where he was met by a police officer at 9:57 a.m. The officer transported the device to the Sanibel Police Department.
Once received at the Dunlop Road facility, officers moved the device outside to the northwest corner of the property while other officers established a perimeter around the building for safety purposes. The Sanibel Fire & Rescue District was contacted along with the Lee County Port Authority Bomb Squad, who relayed the request for assistance to the sheriff’s office.
At 12:40 p.m., the bomb unit arrived on scene, in addition to members of the sheriff’s office, and assumed incident command. Following the investigation on site, the device was detonated by bomb unit personnel at 2:20 p.m.
The responding units were unable to determine exactly what the package was. By 2:40 p.m., the area was rendered secure by Sanibel police.