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Apr 09,2007
Realistic toy guns give police trouble
by UPI

NEW YORK - The New York area has recently been plagued with teens trying to pass off airsoft guns as real handguns.

A 13-year-old wielding an airsoft gun that looked like a .38-caliber revolver tried to rob a Chinese restaurant in Mount Vernon, N.Y., until the gun was wrested away from him and found to be fake, The New York Times reported.

"Until one of my officers picked up the gun, no one thought it was an imitation," said Mount Vernon Police Commissioner David E. Chong.

A New Jersey teen robbed a man for his cocker spaniel in February with what looked like a .45 caliber handgun -- but was actually an airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets.

Chong said he worries that someone holding a realistic looking toy gun may be mistakenly shot by the police.

"Police officers don't have the luxury of saying, 'Is that a real gun or not a real gun?'" said Harry W. Rilling, the police chief in Norwalk, Conn., and president of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association. "They have to make a split-second decision, and it could result in a tragedy."

Copyright ©  2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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