Deputies investigating a stolen car case at a Ninth Street motel came upon something quite different Thursday afternoon.
Deputies were looking into a report of a stolen car at the Budget Inn in south Modesto when the manager approached them, Stanislaus County sheriff's Sgt. Anthony Bejaran said. The incident occurred about noon.
The manager pointed out a device that appeared to be old "military ordnance," Bejaran said. The object was metal, 6 to 8 inches long and appeared to be explosive.
Deputies evacuated the motel and called the bomb squad, Bejaran said.
Bomb squad members responded to evaluate the situation. They couldn't immediately tell if the device was an explosive or just a replica, which is legal to possess.
The squad removed the item and took it to a remote location to "render it safe," Bejaran said.
"They were unable to say for sure what it was," he said. "But we weren't going to take the chance (it was explosive)."
The area was closed off for nearly two hours while the bomb squad conducted its operation.
No charges have been filed, and it's unlikely any will be, for two reasons, Bejaran said: the uncertainty over whether the device was legal or not and the number of people who come and go from a motel.
"We have no way of knowing who brought it there," he said.
Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter @pattyguerra.