An inert grenade was found in a man's car after he was pulled over by officers who noticed him driving around in a gas mask.

Man’s early Halloween costume spooks cops

A man wearing a gas mask while driving Monday morning created an alarming scene in downtown San Mateo after officers reportedly found an inactive grenade inside his vehicle.

Just after 9 a.m. on East Fourth Avenue, police said, 29-year-old Gilberto Masias was stopped by officers who said they were alarmed by his apocalyptic-looking headgear. The gas mask might have been part of a Halloween costume, as police said Masias works at a local costume store.

But wearing the mask in broad daylight — and also a full month before Halloween — forced officers to conduct a “high-risk” traffic stop, according to police.

Masias was found in possession of “a realistic-looking grenade,” police Sgt. Dave Norris said. The grenade was in fact real, Norris said, but was found to be inert.

Still, the incident caused quite a stir. A bomb squad investigation forced the evacuation of a half-block area surrounding the grenade, Norris said. Masias was cited for possessing an inert grenade, he added.

Police warned residents “to be mindful” when choosing Halloween costumes.

“At even a short distance, expert police officers may not be able to tell if a realistic-looking weapon is real or not,” Norris said. “Please be smart with your costume choices.”

maldax@sfexaminer.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART to vote this week on Market Street station canopy project

Shelters for station entrances expected to reduce escalator breakdowns

Chinese coronavirus outbreak has reached the U.S.

The patient, who recently traveled to the outbreak’s epicenter, was hospitalized last week with pneumonia-like symptoms.

Thin margin in SF police union election triggers runoff

Police in San Francisco are deeply divided over who should be the… Continue reading

Deal reached to purchase home at center of Moms 4 Housing protest

Oakland Community Land Trust to buy property under agreement with investment firm

Star of 49ers win, Mostert consoled injured teammate: “We’re brothers”

Raheem Mostert, who broke his arm against the Oakland Raiders in 2018, was able to empathize with some of the pain that Coleman was experiencing

Most Read