A Penticton man going on his morning jog came across a surprising and potentially lethal find on Monday.
“I picked it up and looked inside, wow,” said Virg Paul, still in shock from the explosives he uncovered in a lunch-box cooler.
Paul found the cooler sitting precariously on a rock near a bus stop at the mouth of a walking path that opens up to Eckhardt Avenue around 6:30 a.m. Out of curiosity he peeked inside it.
“I opened it up and I saw these packages wrapped up in paper cloth and it had a strong odour of kerosene or something. I ripped one of those open and it was brown sticks, you know, dynamite,” said Paul, who called RCMP to alert them about the discovery.
A youth on a bike rode by and Paul said he warned them not to touch it and then cautioned a man passing by who was going to grab the lunch-box cooler and take it with him not to touch it.
RCMP cordoned off the area by Eckhardt Avenue and Haywood Street immediately as they waited for the RCMP explosives unit to arrive from Vancouver to assist with the matter.
Around 2 p.m. the explosives unit robot rolled out of the truck and approached the cooler, confirming there were five sticks of dynamite inside.
The robot grabbed the cooler, shaking the items inside down onto the pavement. Officers then came over and picked up the sticks of dynamite and placed them into a black container which was carried over by an officer and stored inside the explosives unit truck. The sticks of dynamite are believed to date back to the 1970s.
“It was in fairly good shape, and by that I mean it wasn’t weeping too badly, but it definitely was dynamite and there was five sticks of it so they’ve now taken it to dispose of,” said Sgt. Rick Dellebuur.
RCMP will now investigate the matter and are hopeful the packaging will yield evidence that they can follow up on. Dellebuur said the RCMP explosives unit took the dynamite to a local gravel pit and destroyed it.
“It easily could have been picked up by some youths and they could have carted it off, and who knows what may have happened as a result. It certainly makes you wonder who would just leave a lunch bucket full of dynamite that could pose problems to anyone around,” said Dellebuur.
Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Penticton RCMP or call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
“Somebody is going to know who left that container of explosives here on the trail and we certainly would like to know about it and deal with it.” said Dellebuur.
Dellebuur added that if anyone has explosives in their possession and don’t know what to do with them they should contact RCMP so they can arrange for disposal.
“We treat all these situations real until proven otherwise, and here is a great example of why we do that because it was real,” said Dellebuur.