Halloween warning from NJ cops: Watch those fake weapons
Creepy clowns won't be the only costume New Jersey police keep an eye on this Halloween.
They're sending out a warning to anyone who may have a fake weapon accompanying their getup: Don't use them the wrong way or you could cause a dangerous situation for everyone in the area.
According to Det. Capt. Laurence Martin, of the Wayne Police Department, the concern mainly surrounds teens and young adults who may not be thinking clearly, either on their own or due to the influence of drugs or alcohol.
"The last thing anyone wants is to be in a physical confrontation with a suspect," Martin told New Jersey 101.5. "The second thing is you don't ever want to be in a confrontation with somebody who looks like they're carrying a real firearm."
Martin said fake weapons such as guns and swords are perfectly fine — after all, it's Halloween. But it's the way they're used that can ignite a problem.
Many imitation firearms feature a red or orange "nose" at the end to indicate it's a toy, but Martin has seen these caps blacked out. He said it's not always easy to distinguish a real firearm from a fake.
Lt. Brian Polite of the State Police says he wouldn't have his child carry a fake firearm, even on Halloween, but understands many parents probably don't have a problem with it.
"On a day like Halloween, quite honestly, you don't know the good guys from the bad guys," Polite said. "If you have a costume that has a weapon on it, we really prefer that the weapon looks as fake as possible."
Following a string of "creepy clown" sightings and hoaxes in New Jersey and elsewhere, a number of towns and schools have banned clown costumes on Oct. 31. This week, retail chain Target announced it would be suspending the sale of clown masks online and in stores.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.