Ottawa police find inactive explosive device in taxi

Ottawa police are investigating an inert explosive device believed to be a replica grenade found in a south Ottawa parking lot Thursday night.

Taxi driver says replica grenade may have fallen out of passenger's pocket

Driver Joseph Merhi says he and his uncle found an apparent replica grenade in his parked cab. 3:04

Ottawa police are investigating an inert explosive device, believed to be a replica grenade, found in a south Ottawa parking lot Thursday night.

Police were called to a parking lot on Walkley Road between Heatherington Road and Baycrest Drive around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The lot was empty except for a taxi with a suspicious package inside.

Joseph Merhi told Radio-Canada he parked his taxi at a mosque around 4:30 p.m. to pray and when he went to give his keys to his uncle, they found something in the back.

"My night driver came to pick up the car, he checked the back seat and there was a little grenade. We thought it was a toy at the beginning. He carried it in his hand, brought it to me," he said.

"It was metal, we started to think ‘What’s going on here?’ He thought it was a lighter. We almost pulled up the ring."

Merhi said they decided to call police once they saw what appeared to be a code or serial number on the object.

He said he was kept on scene for four hours as police, including their bomb disposal unit, went to work.

Merhi said he doesn't think someone broke into his taxi, but that it may have been left behind by mistake.

"Maybe it was dropped from their pocket or something," he said. "Ottawa police say it’s a replica."

Merhi said police took his taxi in to check its camera.

Ottawa police are asking any witnesses to contact them.

On mobile? Click here to see a map of where the device was found.