Tricolor

Moosburg – Patrick B. has a special hobby: In his free time, the 22-year-old from Munich likes to pull a magnet on a string through rivers and streams. The older the water, the more exciting. There are internet forums in which 5,000 people exchange ideas about what is known as magnetic fishing, and Patrick is also networked there. If something gets stuck, and it’s not rusty scrap metal, the catch is photographed and displayed online. Patrick was able to get hold of coins with the year 1903, and cartridge cases from days of war can be found again and again.

The brown trunk that he pulls out of a works canal near the Moosburg compensation pond on Sunday is not a case for the home showcase – it ensures that a complete bridge is closed.

“Doesn’t look good, call the police immediately”
It is late afternoon when Patrick leaves a family reunion in Landshut. Two siblings are still there, plus his girlfriend and a friend. On the way home to Munich, they spontaneously stop at Moosburg, Patrick has researched a particularly old channel there. The first thing he does is pull an iron grate out of the water. Then the magnet gets stuck on a discarded motorcycle that is stuck in the mud under the bridge. “But what do I want with it,” thinks Patrick – and tries again. The elongated part that is now dangling from the end of the cord looks strange – and must weigh five kilos.

The 22-year-old takes a cell phone photo and posts it to an online group. After ten minutes he already has 50 comments. Some suspect a bottle or an exhaust pipe. One advises: “It doesn’t look good, you’d better call the police immediately!” Patrick remembers a friend who once came across a 250-kilo bomb while magnet fishing near Berlin. So he carefully ties the line to the railing so that the catch continues to float in the water. Then he dials the emergency number.

Everyone suddenly catches their breath
When two police officers arrive, they take a close look at the thing. They too are undecided. There is a brief moment of shock when one of the officers holds a pocket knife to compare the size – and probably underestimates the power of the magnet. The knife clicks against the magnet, everyone catches their breath for a moment. Finally, the police also send a cell phone photo. Shortly afterwards the answer comes from the headquarters: Patrick has caught an artillery shell from the First World War.