A man wearing a gas mask and with a "realistic-looking" grenade prompted a bomb squad to respond to downtown San Mateo Monday morning, police said.
The man, identified as 29-year-old Gilberto Masias of San Mateo, is an employee at a local costume store and was determined to not have a live grenade, San Mateo Police Sgt. Dave Norris said.
Just after 9 a.m. on Fourth Avenue, an officer spotted Masias wearing a gas mask while driving a car. The officer stopped Masias in the unit block of Fourth Avenue, and noticed Masias was in possession of a "realistic-looking grenade," Norris said.
Out of an abundance of caution for public safety, Masias was detained and the grenade isolated for a response by the San Mateo County Sheriff's Bomb Squad. The grenade was ultimately determined to be real, but inert.
A half-block area around the grenade was cleared as appropriate for the Bomb Squad response.
Masias was cited and released for Possession of an Inert Grenade, an infraction.
As Halloween approaches, the San Mateo Police Department would like to remind the community to be mindful when choosing costumes for the holiday season, and the appropriate times and places to wear them.
Costumes with very realistic looking weapons can create fear and safety concern among the community members, and may provoke a response by law enforcement.
At even a short distance, expert police officers may not be able to tell if a realistic-looking weapon is real or not. Please be smart with your costume choices.