Garages are often cluttered with dusty boxes of relics, untouched gym equipment, or a multitude of tools.
But how about a piece of a nuclear missile of the Cold War era?
On Thursday, bomb squads in Bellevue, Washington, were called to inspect parts of a military missile found in a resident's garage.
Elements of the intact missile were missing, such as the warheadand authorities considered the piece to be inert and safe, police said in a news release Friday.
An Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio, contacted Bellevue police on Wednesday to report that a resident had offered to give the missile, which belonged to his late neighbor.
A “Luna” anti-tank missile deployed during the 1962 missile crisis on display at the Morro Cabana complex in Havana. (AFP Photo)
The resident had taken over his neighbor's estate, according to Bellevue police, and said his neighbor had originally purchased the missile at an estate sale.
Police were unable to contact any of the neighbor's relatives and did not identify the Bellevue man out of respect for his privacy, said Officer Seth Tyler, spokesman for the Bellevue Police Department.
The next day, the man was “surprised” to hear from the police, who had not called them but had invited the bomb squad to inspect the remains of the missile, Tyler said.
Squad members identified the rocket as a missile Douglas AIR-2 Geniedesigned to carry a 1.5 kiloton nuclear warhead.
First put into service in 1957, the Genie It was the world's first nuclear rocket designed to destroy air targets and was the most powerful interceptor missile deployed by the US Air Force, according to Boeing.
In 1954, Douglas Aircraft began work on “a small nuclear-armed unguided air-to-air missile,” according to Boeing.
Douglas Aircraft built more than 1,000 Genie rockets before discontinuing production in 1962.
It was clear that the rest of the missile posed no threat, given that it was missing its warhead and contained no rocket fuel, Tyler said.
“At that time it was just a piece of rusty metal,” he explained.
“An artifact, in other words.”
Since the military did not ask for it back, the police left it with the man so he could I will donate it.
It was not immediately clear whether the rest of the missile would go to the Ohio museum, and efforts to contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton on Sunday were unsuccessful.
Given Bellevue's proximity to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a large military base, Tyler said it was not unusual for police to respond to calls about hand grenades or other unexploded ordnance.
But a Cold War missile would be a first, said Tyler, who has worked for the department for 18 years.
The department also seemed to believe it would be the last, incorporating part of a lyric from the classic Elton John song “Rocket Man” in a social media post:
“And we think it's going to be a long, long time before we get another call like this again,” Bellevue police said.
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