In an apparent instance of mindless mechanical nihilism, a police robot in San Francisco scattered live grenades across a street using its mechanical arm. When the deadly frag-bombs failed to explode, the enraged tin cop apparently attempted to detonate them by running them over.
We'll let this vid from local news channel KTVU speak for itself - the grenade-fumbling action begins at about two minutes 30 seconds in.
Apparently the grenades had been found prior to the robot's antics by family members going through the possessions of a recently deceased relative.
San Francisco Police spokesman Lieutenant Troy Dangerfield apparently described the deadly robotic rampage by telling the San Francisco Examiner that "the grenades are being safely disposed of by bomb technicians". ®
Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) robots of this type are remotely controlled by humans, so in fact it is a little unfair to lay the blame on the mechanical cop.
While the handling of such robots is more difficult than it might seem at a casual glance, the SFPD bomb squad certainly didn't cover themselves with glory on this one.
Under British rules, a job dealing with apparently unmodified grenades would count as Conventional Munitions Disposal (CMD) rather than the generally riskier and more uncertain Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD), and an operator would be unlikely to use a robot.
Your correspondent has in fact dealt with several similar jobs - grandad's grenades are a routine task for all EOD operators on the home front.
Lewis Page was an armed forces EOD operator assigned in support of the UK police from 2001 to 2004.