We’ve all been there. Your Fallout costume just isn’t sitting right. It needs alterations. So you head to the nearest tailor looking like a poor-man’s storm trooper only to get hounded by the police who think you’re carrying a bomb on your back.
That’s what happened to one cosplayer in Grande Prairie, Canada last Tuesday. While on his way to Lynn’s Alterations at Bell Tower Plaza carrying a New California Republic flag, calls from concerned residents altered police who then showed up to the tailor’s shop and used their vehicles for cover, treating the entire ordeal like a live bomb situation that might end in a shootout. “At least eight officers responded with their long guns drawn,” CBC News reported.
“He was observed going into a business, so the RCMP members were able to safely remove the staff members from the business,” said RCMP Corporal Shawn Graham.
While in the middle of doing measurements for the costume, the owner of Lynn’s Alterations, Hoa Huynh, was called by police and asked if he saw any wires on the man. When Huynh confirmed that he did, they told him to exit the shop out the back entrance.
What the police and other residents had mistaken for a bomb, however, turned out to be several cans of Pringles potato chips. They were painted silver. When the company talks about their chips “bursting with flavor,” I don’t think they meant that literally.
Fortunately, the police tried to open a dialogue with the cosplayer before opening fire, and in so doing realized what exactly was going on. They still took him into custody but eventually released him without any charges.
“We have to believe everything is real until proven otherwise,” Graham told CBC News. “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.’”
This isn’t the first time costume accessories have been mistaken for deadly weapons, and with regular reports of shooting sprees and bombings, it’s understandable why so many people are on edge about anything that looks out of the ordinary.
So if you do need to make some changes to your post-apocalyptic getup, maybe keep it tucked away until you get to where you’re going. Even if the local authorities don’t shoot you, they’ll still probably confiscate your gear.