Police are asking the public to not carry plastic cellphone cases shaped like guns.
The plea comes after Illinois Conservation Police officers discovered one particular cell phone charging case during a traffic stop at Illinois Beach State Park in Zion that was so realistic-looking, police made an arrest.
The suspect was carrying it in his waistband just similar to how a real firearm might be positioned leading the officer to mistake it for a real gun.
The officer did not know it was actually a phone case until after the suspect was arrested according to the Chicago Tribune.
During one traffic stop, officers held up the drivers of a stolen vehicle.
One of the occupants had the cell phone case tucked into his front waistband with only the ‘pistol handle’ portion exposed above the waist line.
The man ended up having to be placed in handcuffs before it could be removed.
Only then did it become apparent it was a cell phone case and not a real firearm.
Because the gun phone case is not illegal to carry in Illinois, outside of Chicago, police did not seize it.
However, law enforcement are now requesting people not to carry such lookalikes saying the cases could end up being dangerous for both civilians and police.
In a Facebook post, the Department of Natural Resources said, ‘DO NOT carry products like this around!! It is dangerous and places all citizens and officers in unnecessary risk of harm.’
‘This incident serves as a reminder how quickly situations unfold for Officers under high-stress conditions, often leaving fractions of a second to make critical decisions,’ the post continued.
Gun-shaped cell phone cases are illegal in Chicago and in some other cities but they are not banned outside of the city.
They are easily available to purchase on eBay and from stores that ship them from overseas. It is not clear who manufactures the case.
‘Win the Darwin award of the year by carrying your phone around in this gun shaped iPhone case. If you’re dumb enough to actually buy this case you are asking for problems with law enforcement,’ wrote one person online.