Bringing it to him straight away, the pair then took it inside to investigate into what it, he told the news outlet.
The item was smaller than Ms Lovett’s hand and while she was rinsing off the debris, she realised there was Japanese writing engraved on it.
“The next thing you know I’m sitting at our dining room table scraping on it with a steak knife trying to clean it out,” Coffey said. “We’re trying to figure out what the heck this is when from the kitchen she yells, ‘Stop! I think it might be a bomb!”
Mr Coffey originally thought it was a deep-sea diving weight, however Ms Lovett used the Google Lens app to decipher what it actually was, a method that implied it was a bomb.
The couple called Jefferson County Sherriff’s Department for assistance. They answered alongside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Air Force, according to Mr Coffey.
The seriousness of what was happening became evident when a perimeter was placed around the property and local residents were made to stay inside and told to avoid doors and windows while the authorities investigated the local area.
Their findings concluded the bomb, despite it being old, was still live and had the capacity to blast up to 500ft away.
“It wasn’t just the shell. This thing was live. They confirmed it,” Mr Coffey told the reporter.
The couple shared their experiences in a Facebook post, which garnered lots of engagement from other people interested in their experience.
Eventually, the device was safely removed from their home by the St. Louis Regional Bomb and Arson Unit. The couple were reminded how lucky they were to come away unhurt from the encounter with the dangerous explosive, which had been in their garden for decades.
“They took it away in this huge blast-proof truck. I guess because it was so old, it was extremely volatile, so it had to be handled with extra precaution,” Mr Coffey said.
He joked that he owed his life to his wife, the one who first came into contact with the bomb and figured out what it was. If she had not done her extensive internet research, their day could have had a very different ending.
“I guess this why women live longer than men,” Mr Coffey quipped.
It was confirmed that the bomb was securely disposed of at an air force base, according to the Scott Air Force.
Mr Coffey and Ms Lovett remain curious about what other historical artefacts are buried in their yard and in the local area. Mr Coffey said that his wife had a love of antiques so they were anticipating their next find.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies