The Washington Post

Live antitank ammunition found in Va. town

What appeared to be live military ammunition was found Saturday in Leesburg, and evacuations took place Saturday evening, officials said.

The weaponry, described as “anti-tank missiles” was found in the 500 block of Rockbridge Drive SE, according to a posting from the town’s mayor, Kristen C. Umstattd.

She said in an e-mail that the discovery was made about 1:30 p.m.

A perimeter was extended out 400 yards, and about 100 people were involved, she said.

She said the projectiles, described as armed, needed to be removed by the military to a safe location. It was expected that the removal might come between 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Around 11:30 p.m. Umstattd said that all the ammunition had been removed. It was safe for residents to return, she said.

On the mayor’s Facebook page, a woman said she had found the munitions while joining others in taking down a shed.

She said pictures were taken of the discovery and brought to a police station. Officers showed up in four cars to inspect the site, she said.

“They told us to leave as quickly as possible,” the woman said. “I've never been so scared.”

It was not clear where the munitions had come from. A posting said it might have been from Operation Desert Storm.

The amount of explosive material was estimated by Leesburg officials to be in the 3 to 6 pound range. A photograph that aired on News Channel 8 showed what appeared to be fin-stabilized projectiles, with folding fins.

Leesburg, the county seat of Loudoun County, is about 45 miles northwest of the District.

Susan Svrluga is a reporter for the Washington Post, covering higher education for the Grade Point blog.

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