Cosplay Fallout: Gaming enthusiast swarmed by police for wearing costume
The gamer carried a flag with the words “New California Republic” written on it, a reference to a faction in the popular post-apocalyptic video game Fallout.
Police received a number of calls from concerned citizens, some of whom reported the suspicious man was carrying a bomb on his back.
The man was seen entering Lynn’s Alterations at Bell Tower Plaza, where he enquired about getting his costume altered, the store’s owner Hoa Huynh later said.
Eight officers rushed to the scene and drew their guns in anticipation of a possible showdown with the gasmasked man.
"He was observed going into a business, so the RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] members were able to safely remove the staff members from the business," Cpl. Shawn Graham said.
As Huynh was serving the man, the police called and asked whether he could see any wires sticking out of the man. Huynh was also told to leave the store.
When police made contact with the Fallout fan, they soon established he was not a threat, but a cosplay enthusiast.
“Through conversation with the male they were able to determine that he was wearing a costume and there was no threat to the public," Graham said.
The man was taken into custody but released without charge.
"We have to believe everything is real until proven otherwise," Graham said. "In the end you've got a good feeling after going, 'OK, there wasn't a bomb, there was no intent to do anything criminal, it's just someone with their costume.'"
Graham said the incident should remind other cosplay fans that walking around with fake weapons will draw police attention. “There's a time and a place for it,” Graham said. “Wandering around downtown [is] maybe not the place to do it."
As for the alleged bomb people thought they had spotted, it turned out to be a few cans of Pringles potato chips that were painted silver.