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Unusual donation to Abbotsford thrift store prompts police response, evacuation of nearby businesses

The explosives disposal unit removed the grenade and determined it was a decommissioned Mills hand grenade from the Second World War, police said. (Abbotsford police) The explosives disposal unit removed the grenade and determined it was a decommissioned Mills hand grenade from the Second World War, police said. (Abbotsford police)
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Multiple businesses in an Abbotsford, B.C., strip mall were evacuated Monday after police responded to reports of an explosive device inside a neighbouring thrift store.

The Abbotsford Police Department says officers responded to a 911 call at the Value Village on South Fraser Way at approximately 3:16 p.m.

Staff at the thrift store had located a grenade among items that had been donated to the store.

Police cleared the thrift store and surrounding businesses while the RCMP's explosives disposal unit was called to the scene.

"The area of the business has been cordoned off to mitigate any potential risk to the public," the Abbotsford Police Department said in a statement Tuesday.

The explosives disposal unit removed the grenade and determined it was a decommissioned Mills hand grenade from the Second World War, police said.

Officers contacted the person who dropped off the donations and were told the inert grenade, which had been used as a paperweight, was donated accidentally, according to the statement.

A Value Village spokesperson told CTV News that staff are "trained to carefully evaluate each item" donated to the company's thrift stores.

"In this case, our store team acted swiftly and appropriately to prevent this item from reaching the sales floor, securing the area, and engaging expert resources to appropriately dispose of the item," Sara Gaugl, director of marketing and communications for the thrift-store chain, said in an emailed statement.

"The store is safe, and we have returned to normal business operations."

Once the grenade was removed, the area was reopened to the public.

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