Manitoba RCMP are warning the public not to walk around with handgun-shaped phone cases after one prompted officers to show up on Grand Beach with rifles.
On Sunday, Selkirk RCMP got a call about a man walking around the beach with a gun tucked in his shorts.
Multiple officers were sent to the crowded beach — some armed with rifles and others armed with Tasers.
CBC Radio producer Laura Glowacki said she was at Grand Beach that day when the armed officers walked past her and toward a man and his family members.
"There were about, I would say, four or five police officers and then conservation officers with them — all in flak jackets, like bulletproof vests, carrying weapons," she said.
According to police, the officers soon realized the 34-year-old man's "gun" was actually a handgun replica phone case.
"A few minutes later they came back with an individual, which I guess is the 34-year-old man. He's just wearing his swim trunks, surrounded by cops," Glowacki said.
"He was quiet, he looked calm. He even maybe looked a bit embarrassed. [He] wasn't really making eye contact … he looked like he just wanted to co-operate."
Police say the man handed over the case so it could be destroyed. He was not charged.
Now, RCMP are warning others not to buy or use the case.
"The call we get is that a man is in possession of a handgun on a crowded beach," said Sgt. Bert Paquet. "We have to respond accordingly, putting potentially a lot of people at risk."
Paquet said the cases aren't illegal, but they're not safe for the public or for officers.
"Our officers have to assume that this is a real handgun," he said.
Paquet said people should destroy the cases rather than throw them in the garbage, where someone else could find it.
"I would say take a hammer to it. [That] would be safe disposal," he said.
Among some other disposal ideas: "Step on it hard, throw it in a fire," Paquet said.
"Just make sure it doesn't look like a firearm or a handgun. We recommend that [you] melt it, break it into thousands of little pieces."