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Imitation Weapon Leads To Panic On Bus

Imitation Weapon Causes Real Concern

26 January 2006

A 23 year-old man was apprehended by armed Police officers on Queen St at 2.55pm after an incident on a bus which alarmed about a dozen passengers and the driver.

The man was in possession of what Police now know to be an imitation hand gun which doubles as a cigarette lighter.

The lighter had been bought a short time earlier from a Victoria Park Market outlet and Police are warning people who buy them for personal use to think very carefully about where and when they take them into public places.

Acting Detective Sergeant Reece Sirl from the Auckland City CIB said that although in this incident the man concerned won't be facing any criminal charges, there was a very real possibility that someone could have been seriously hurt as a result of the imitation firearm being easily mistaken for the real thing.

"The bottom line is, we don't know until we have the chance to closely inspect the item whether it is the real thing," Mr Sirl said.

"Often we don't have the luxury of time to determine authenticity and that's where tragedies can happen."

He urged smokers to buy obvious cigarette lighters and encouraged retailers to think of their responsibilities in terms of public safety.

The 23 year-old man has been spoken to by Police who have determined he had no criminal intent so consequently won't be facing any criminal charges.


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