Police Issue Warning About Dangerous Tennis Ball Bombs

Washington police have issued a serious warning to residents about a potential danger lurking in the streets over the holiday.

Police are advising everyone to ignore any random, abandoned items they may find on the streets or in a park - especially tennis balls. Tennis balls have become a go-to vessel for firework DIYers. Reports have been coming in that people are breaking down store-bought fireworks and transplanting the explosive elements into other common objects, such as tennis balls, pipes, and ping pong balls. These “tennis ball bombs” may look innocent, but they could explode at any moment - which could be disastrous for you or your dog.

"Some of them are very effective and dangerous, and some of them don't work, but you don't know," Jarod Kasner of the Kent Police Department told CBS News. "People light them, leave them thinking it's a dud, but who knows what's happening on the inside. Then a dog comes and picks it up ..."

It’s no secret that dogs love tennis balls, and when out and about, are prone to pick up anything and everything. One Portland man and his dog suffered a tragic encounter with a tennis ball bomb back in 2000. The two thought they had found a free toy, and the ball seemed perfectly fine until the man threw it. When his dog bit down, it exploded ... resulting in the poor pet having to be euthanized.

While the bomb didn’t go off right away, it could have also easily exploded in the man’s hand.

My Everett News

"It could be smoldering on the inside, and when you move it around, that's when it goes off," Kasner says.

Nobody should ever try to make their own fireworks. It is irresponsible and you could seriously injure yourself or others. Over the holiday, police around the country are warning everyone to not pick up any suspicious looking items. If something looks burnt or has a wick sticking out of it, it’s most likely a makeshift firework. 

Kent Police Department

"A tennis ball bomb is very easy to identify,” police say, according to WTVT. “It is a real tennis ball that has some sort of fuse sticking out of it. The tennis ball could also be completely wrapped in duct tape with a fuse sticking out."

If you encounter one of these tennis ball bombs, stay away and alert fire officials immediately by calling 911. Stay safe this weekend.

Be sure to SHARE this serious warning with your friends and family.

H/T: Opposing Views

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