by Greg Liggins


PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — You may have been at Goodwill, dropping off clothes or other items after cleaning out a closet. Well, this place can get some odd donations, and one item recently left in Placerville location had the potential to go boom.

The shell that was left in the donation box. (Credit: El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office)

A live mortar shell, believed to be from World War II, was recently left at this Goodwill store in Placerville. Goodwill says people often drop off items in boxes that haven’t been looked through, and sometimes the donations are from a deceased war veteran.

“As we sort through those things we often find war memorabilia, grenades, it’s rare that we find a live grenade or any live ammunition, but when we do we have protocols in place to make sure that we dispose of it safely,” said Richard Abrusci, President and CEO of Goodwill Sacramento.

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In the case of this potentially explosive mortar, the bomb squad came in to take it away and disposed of it at Travis Air Force Base.

Dominic Ceballos is one of the people who sort through the donations, some which can’t even be talked about on TV.

“Thankfully I haven’t come across too much stuff that’s repulsive, but I have seen a lot of repulsive stuff, so…” Ceballos said.

A donation of snake whiskey might not be repulsive at first glance until you actually turn the bottle around. Just one of many odd items people donate to goodwill.

“We get things from taxidermy alligators to fur coats to some endangered items like elephant tusks. It does sort of run the gamut,” said Abrusci.

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Not so strange, but items like knives or stun guns are high on the long list of things goodwill gets but doesn’t want.

“Batteries, ammunition or weapons are probably the top three things that we receive,” said Abrusci.

Every item in the store has to be sorted and examined before it can be put on display for purchase.  Whenever something inappropriate is dropped-off, the CEO says it’s a costly burden.

“Every time we get one of those donations we have to utilize our resources to dispose of it properly. And that’s money that we’re not putting back into the community through our job training and workforce development programs,” said Abrusci.

Goodwill does not accept any type of hazardous waste or large items.

If you have any questions about a donation, it’s best to call or check their website.

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