UPDATED: Aldergrove grenade discovery contested by store owner’s son

Son says they were “toy grenades,” police say were real grenades were found

A business owner’s son alleges toy grenades were the cause of a bomb squad deployment that prompted the shutdown of part of Aldergrove’s downtown for hours last week.

Officers with the explosives disposals unit arrived on scene last Wednesday just before 2:30 p.m., where nearly 10 businesses and various residents were evacuated along Fraser Highway between 272nd and 273rd Streets due to a bomb scare.

What the bomb squad discovered was not novelties, but deactivated military surplus items – in other words grenades – according to Cpl. Kurt Neuman, Aldergrove’s community police liaison.

The items were without detonators but still posed a serious threat to the public, Neuman said. The items were relinquished to police. No charges have been laid.

Police cordoned off the three-block area just after 10:30 a.m. following a report that two devices resembling grenades were found in a business.

“It was better to err on the side of caution, for everybody’s sake,” said Neuman, who was on scene during the events.

Reports from the scene said the discovery was made in the backyard of Alder Natural Foods.

Police were called in by a store employee when two devices were found in what was described as a private storage cabinet.

Ben Faley, owner of the business, told locals on scene it was just “a can of gasoline” with what appeared to be a novelty grenade on top.

Del Pollo restaurant chef Cuc Lam was unable to get to work as a result of the police-ordered shutdown.

“I can’t believe it’s happening,” Lam said, “in this sweet little town.”

A local who lives in an apartment behind Speedies skate shop on the south side of Fraser Highway – Colleen McCormack, was rushed out of her bath tub and apartment in the early morning by yells from police.

“My first concern was that something had happened to somebody I knew,” McCormack said, “It took a while for my heart rate to return to normal.”

The 62-year-old said the strip’s business owners and residents have helped her immensely over the last four years.

She refers to Faley, the owner of Alder Natural Foods, as her “adopted father” who orders in supplements and health items she needs.

“In spite of what you see now – it’s really a wonderful little community here.”

Colleen McCormack, who lives in an apartment behind Speedies skate shop on the south side of Fraser Highway, was rushed out of her bathtub and apartment in the early hours of morning by concerned yells from police.

“My first worry was that something had happened to somebody I knew,” McCormack said. “It took a while for my heart rate to return to normal.”

The 62-year-old said the strip’s business owners and residents are tight-knit, and have helped her immensely through the past four years as she’s battled with her health.

She referred to Faley, owner of Alder Natural Foods, as her “adopted father” who orders in supplements and health items she asks for.

“In spite of what you see now – it’s really a wonderful little community here.”

On Monday, Faley’s son, who also works at the business told the Aldergrove Star he purchased what were “toy grenades” from Dollarama that caused the commotion.

“I wanted them for my man cave, you know?” he remarked.

The son alleged the only way that the devices could have hurt someone is if they were “hit in the eye with them.”

“It’s all just a stupid joke,” he said.

RCMP confirmed on Monday the devices were not novelties of any sort.

The employee who called in the suspicious devices has been referred to victim services, where she will be able to receive counselling in light of the troubling circumstances.

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