Rocket launcher found in yard of New Jersey home

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Map showing location of Jersey City.

Police in Jersey City, New Jersey in the United States say that they have found a 20 year old rocket launcher tube, capable of shooting down planes, on the front yard of a home that is reported to be directly in the path of Newark Liberty International Airport. Police say that the weapon was not in operating condition.

Firing an AT-4 produces a large back blast, a significant problem when operating the weapon in urban environments.

"I was shocked. I read it and it and [there was the word missile] on it. There was little 'missile' writing on it. I was afraid because of what people want to do to this country," said Niranjana Besai who was born in India and has lived in the U.S. for 25 years who discovered the weapon at about 8:00 a.m EDT (UTC-4) when she was leaving the house to go to work.

According to Modern Firearms, the weapon can only be used once, saying it "is a disposable, single shot, recoilless weapon" and can hit a target with a range of "up to 150 meters [to use] against moving targets, and about 300 meters against stationary targets."

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirms that the weapon is of military issue and has been identified as a model AT-4, primarily used as an anti-tank weapon. It is manufactured by Saab Bofors Dynamics in Sweden. No explosive devices have been located at the scene. The Associated Press says that the weapon was made to be used during training missions and anti-tank artillery. The U.S. Army at Fort Monmouth in Oceanport, New Jersey is now in possession of the weapon.

"The device has been turned over to United States Army officials at Fort Monmouth," said Jersey City police in a statement to the press which also confirmed the weapon was a U.S. military issued launcher and was "no longer operable and not considered to be a hazard to public safety."

It is not known how the weapon ended up in Besai's yard. The Joint Terrorism Task Force and FBI have confiscated the weapon, before turning it over to the army, and they are investigating the incident.

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