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Shopping center evacuated after mortar shell is found


Edgewater Village Shopping Center was evacuated yesterday while state, county and Army officials decided how to safely remove what appeared to be an old mortar shell that was brought to a storefront community policing station about 1 p.m.

About 150 shoppers and employees from stores at the center on U.S. 40 south of Route 24 in Edgewood were evacuated for about 2 1/2 hours, said Sgt. Edward Hopkins, spokesman for the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

Jim Allingham, spokesman for Aberdeen Proving Ground, said members of the Army's Explosive Ordinance Detachment arrived from Fort Meade to analyze the 3-by-11-inch shell. He said they determined that the shell, which had no military markings, had no fuse and that X-rays revealed no explosive substance inside.

The shell was packed into a special container and an Army Technical Escort Unit took it about 3:30 p.m. to J Field, a testing site at the Edgewood Area of the proving ground, Mr. Allingham said.

"Once receiving the authority to dispose of it from the state Department of the Environment, it will be covered with an explosive charge and detonated," he said.

Sergeant Hopkins said a police officer found the shell in the 900 block of Pulaski Highway after responding to a call. The officer picked up the shell near a trash bin behind Joppa Lawn Mower and took it to the station, he said.

"A seasoned sergeant took one look at it and realized it could be dangerous," Sergeant Hopkins said. "She immediately called for the state fire marshal."

No one knows how the shell got outside the trash bin, he said.

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