World War II-era mortar shell found in Indio

INDIO, Calif. -

A World War II-era mortar shell was uncovered today at an Indio car dealership when a work crew dug underneath the concrete, a police official said.

Indio police were dispatched at 8 a.m. to the Fiesta Ford dealership at 78990 Varner Road, where the crew was working near a car display.

As they dug, workers found the 30-inch tall shell that prompted the call to Indio police.

Responding officers then called the Riverside County sheriff's bomb squad unit to examine the shell, which was later determined to be a dud, Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron said.

The dealership was evacuated for most of the morning before being reopened about noon.

A bomb squad unit from the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center was called as a precautionary measure to pick up the mortar shell that apparently had been buried for more than 70 years, Guitron said.

The site where the dealership is located once was part of a sandy area where the military trained during World War II, Guitron said.

No injuries were reported.

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