A report from the U.S. Marine Corps of two Marines with military training devices prompted a bomb squad response and evacuation late Thursday at a Redondo Beach shopping center more than 150 miles from the servicemembers' base in Twentynine Palms.
Redondo Beach police found the Marines' white RAM 1500 pickup at about 8 p.m. in a parking lot at a Living Spaces furniture store on Hawthorne Boulevard. Non-lethal projectile ground burst simulators
-- commonly referred to as "arty sims," or artillery simulators -- were found in a pickup, according to police, who took the men into custody after a three-hour investigation that required evacuations at the Living Spaces store and a nearby Target and Nordstrom Rack store.
Capt. Nicholas Mannweiler, public affairs officer for the Marine Corps, said in an e-mail to NBC4 that, when triggered, the devices create a bright flash and large bang. The flash and sound are used to simulate artillery and mortar strikes during combat training.
They are reserved for use at on-base training ranges. The Marines were not supposed to have the devices with them off the base, Mannweiler said.
The Marines -- stationed at Twentynine Palms -- were later taken into custody by Naval Criminal Investigative Services agents, according to Capt. Jeff Hink, of the Redondo Beach Police Department. NCIS would investigate why the two were in Redondo Beach with the devices, he said.