another interesting read... THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH By Holly Zachariah LIMA, Ohio -- The lady with the 155 mm howitzer shell wasn't in the mood for chitchat. She opened the door just far enough for the two bomb-squad technicians to slip inside. Only four sentences were exchanged. "Hello, Ma'am," Police Sgt. Phil Miller said. "There it is," the woman said, pointing to the 100-pound projectile lying on her living room rug. "I would have put it on the porch for you, but it was too heavy for me to lift." "OK, thanks," Miller replied. He lifted one end of the thing -- the most powerful land-based artillery shell used by the U.S. Army -- as Officer Greg Adkins lifted the other and they headed out to the waiting armored van. Before the officers were even off the porch, the door slammed shut behind them. That was OK. What had transpired perfectly illustrated what the officers suspected might happen during the Lima Police Department's Ammunition Amnesty Week. "She doesn't have to talk about why she has an artillery round from a howitzer, and we don't have to ask," Adkins said. "We just want to get these things out of people's hands." The woman probably got the shell innocently enough, Adkins said, but you never can tell. It's not like it came from Wal-Mart, he pointed out. Still, he didn't bother her for information. The four-person bomb squad, based in Allen County, has about 30 appointments this week. Unless it poses an immediate threat, everything they collect will be exploded in a pit at a rock quarry late Friday. It's rare that these things actually explode, Adkins said, but it is better to be cautious. Old bullets pose little risk, but it's not like you can throw them out with the garbage, which, if burned or compacted, could pose a problem. Lima has advertised this no-questions-asked special for weeks, an idea that the squad says they've never heard of another department taking on. The logic is that everyone will be safer, and future scary calls will be prevented. They hope to avoid situations like the recent one in Newark, in which a 79-year-old woman took a box of her father's belongings to an auction house. Mixed among the paraphernalia were two World War I grenades and a World War II mortar round. The Columbus bomb squad eventually detonated the stuff at the police department's firing range. Yesterday in Lima, most of the people who turned something in weren't worried about amnesty. They just wanted the things gone. The officers took boxes of .30-caliber shells for a machine gun and .357- and .22-caliber bullets. They carted away a handful of 12-gauge shotgun shells from one house, and several cigar boxes full of .44-caliber bullets and 6 pounds of gunpowder from another. Some of the calls couldn't wait, however. A week ago, a farmer called to make an appointment. He had a 30-year-old box of dynamite on a shelf in a shed, along with blasting caps and fuses. It had crystallized, a sure sign of volatility, Adkins said. "We just told him, 'Mister, don't move a thing.' " The Lima Police Department's bomb squad covers a 12-county area of northwestern Ohio, including Hardin, Logan and Marion counties. To schedule a pickup in those areas during Ammunition Amnesty Week, which runs through Friday, call 419-227-4444.