(CBS) JERSEY CITY A Jersey City woman made what to her and her neighbors was a shocking discovery Friday morning when she noticed a military rocket launcher lying in the grass.
Niranjana Besai was leaving her house, located at 88 Nelson Street, to go to work just after 8 a.m. when she spotted the launcher on her front lawn.
“I read it and it [said] ‘missile,'” Besai told CBS 2 HD. “There was little ‘missile’ [writing] on it.”
She immediately called police.
Sources tell CBS 2 HD that the device is an AT-4 missile launcher that is used to fire against tanks and buildings. The device was first approved by the U.S. Army in 1985 and its very powerful warheads can penetrate through more than a foot of armor.
Each launcher can be used only once, however, and the device found on Besai’s lawn was said to have been used previously. It was deemed inoperable and turned over U.S. Army officials at the New Jersey’s Fort Monmouth.
Investigators were trying to determine when and where the launcher had been fired.
Officials initially expressed concern after discovering that Besai’s house is located along a flight path for Newark Liberty International Airport. They later learned that used, inoperable AT-4 tubes are sold to the public through military surplus Web sites and other outlets.
Residents along Nelson Street were alarmed by the discovery.
Besai’s neighbor, Joe Quinn, told CBS 2 HD he was outside of his home when he noticed Besai pointing at the device from her front porch. When he walked over to see what the fuss was about, he was just as shocked to see weapon, said to be about three or four feet long and weighing about 15 pounds.
“She’s pointing that there’s something in the front,” he said. “I said, ‘Let me come down and take a look,’ and I saw a little soldier on it and I said, ‘Whoa, that’s a missile launcher or something!'”
Quinn says he originally thought the launcher was just a pipe, but after noticing the picture of the soldier — which he described as a soldier kneeling and holding a launcher — he realized it looked similar to a missile launcher he’d seen on television.
“I got scared myself,” he said. “It looked like a bazooka, and right away you think what does somebody want with something like that?”