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Two rocket launchers found in dumpster near California middle school

·2 min read
Construction workers found two bazookas and a grenade in a dumpster in Winchester, California (Riverside County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad)
Construction workers found two bazookas and a grenade in a dumpster in Winchester, California (Riverside County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad)

Police in California have arrested a man after two rocket launchers were found in a dumpster near his house – just a few hundred yards from a school.

Authorities say construction workers discovered two AT-4 launchers and a MK69 practice grenade in a trash receptacle in Winchester, just 300 feet from Margarita Middle School.

“While all items were expended, these items do not go into dumpsters,” the Riverside County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad said in a statement on Wednesday. “These items are ‘generally’ NOT legal to possess (there are some limited exceptions).”

According to WAMU, police traced the weapons back to Christopher Whetstone, 41. On Tuesday, Mr Whetstone was arrested and charged with grand theft, tampering with a motor vehicle, possession of tear gas, and other charges.

“During the service of a search warrant, evidence of the original crime was located, along with narcotics, and a bazooka,” Sgt Edward Soto of the Riverside Sheriff’s Department told the station.

Mr Soto also added that the middle school was not under threat.

“Although there is a school located directly behind the concerned residence, a school was not directly involved in the incident,” the sergeant said.

The Independent has reached out to RSD for more information.

The bomb squad’s statement includes photos of the two bazookas and one grenade. Though they’d already been “expended” – meaning they could no longer be fired – authorities say such items should be checked and disposed of by professionals.

“We urge the public to call law enforcement if these items are found or if you would like to dispose of them legally,” the squad said. “Oftentimes they are found when cleaning out a passed relative’s belongings. We would be happy to come make sure they are safe and to dispose of them properly (returned to the military).”

Though the laws on such weapons vary from state to state, in California it is illegal to possess what the National Firearms Act calls “destructive devices” – which include grenades and bazookas.