ATF removes devices woman 'inherited' after man's death

March 30, 2011

Noreen McGregor first saw what looked like live grenades on her property last summer. She found them — along with some powerful guns — while cleaning out her late brother-in-law’s motor home.

She said she was told to load the devices in her car and drive them to a waste disposal center.

She shirked at the advice.

This week, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took 26 grenade bodies, 35 airborne flares and 12 rifle grenade practice rounds from her Black Forest property, said special agent Brad Beyersdorf, spokesman for the agency.

The agency removed the devices over the course of two days, along with two shotguns — one of them fully automatic — a short-barrel AK-47 and a short-barrel AR-15, Beyersdorf said.

None of the guns were registered with the agency.

McGregor said she found the grenades shortly after her brother-in-law died in August.

She was unsure whether they were explosive, so she called Black Forest Fire/Rescue, where a person gave her a number to the county’s Household Hazardous Waste disposal center, 3255 Akers Drive. When she called, she was told to bring in the devices.

“I said ‘Don’t you think someone should come over and get it?’ and they said ‘Oh, just bring it out,” McGregor said. “I never did because I couldn’t get up enough nerve to do it.”

Careful not to remove any pins, she moved the devices into her barn, where they remained until Monday.

A man visiting her house noticed the grenades and called the ATF for her, McGregor said.

Dave Rose, El Paso County spokesman, said Wednedsay evening he had not heard of the incident.

“That doesn’t sound right to me,” said Rose, of the hazardous waste center’s response.

Officials with the Black Forest Fire/Rescue could not be reached Wednesday.

Though four of the grenade bodies had fuses on them, none could have exploded, Beyersdorf said. They were detonated at a safe location along with the rifle grenades and airborne flares.

McGregor won’t face any charges because the devices belonged to her brother-in-law,

Beyersdorf said. The rifle grenades and confiscated guns were illegal, he said.

McGregor said she was unsure why her brother-in-law had amassed the collection. Though his father served in World War II, McGregor’s brother-in-law was never in the military.

“I’m just glad I don’t have anything out there,” McGregor said.

Call the writer at 476-1654.

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