LEBANON COUNTY, Penn. (CNN/WGAL) -- A 14-year-old in Pennsylvania got an unexpected reward for his chores. Tyler Varvel was doing yard work when he uncovered a World War Two-era bomb near Fort Indiantown Gap. The first thing he thought to do was pull out his cell phone and take a picture of his big find.
It started as a typical day for 14-year-old Tyler Varvel. He was spraying to keep weeds down on a bank at the edge of the family yard when he said he saw something unusual. He says, "Like, it seemed shiny, so I flicked it up with my shoe and it landed right here. It was a bomb, or a mortar, or something."
Tyler took a picture with his cellphone, stepped away from the mortar and called his mom, who just happened to be near the state police barracks in Lickdale and went to get help. His mom Lora Varvel says, "The lady at the desk, her eyes got kind of big like, 'Oh yeah.' I said, 'I don't know what you call it. Maybe, it's a bomb, I don't know what you call it, but we found this in the yard.'"
State police followed Varvel to her home, and quickly shut down the roadway to traffic, and began moving a growing number of people away from the device. Lora says, "And they kept telling everybody to step back. 'Oh, maybe you ought to step a little further. How about if you go up to the house?' And so, it was like more and more caution given."
Members of the state police bomb detection and disposal unit used an x-ray device to determine the mortar was inert, not a live round. Perhaps a practice round left behind by someone decades ago.
A spokesman for the Pennsylvania National Guard said there is no reason to believe the round came from previous training exercises at the gap, nor were these types of mortars used in training. The Varvel family said it's glad it's gone, but say it did cause some excitement for a few hours. Tyler says, "Pretty wild summer." Lora adds, "Something fun for the boys to talk about at school when they go back."
State police say the World War Two-era mortar will be turned over to experts at Fort Indiantown Gap for disposal.