Bringing toys to work can provide a major distraction. A Toronto man learned that lesson when his replica of a handgun, built out of LEGO, prompted police to storm his office Wednesday.
Shortly before 6 p.m., Jeremy Bell, a designer and creative director at digital marketing company Teehan+Lax, was putting the final plastic bricks on a fake semi-automatic pistol in his office on Richmond Street, near Spadina Avenue.
He showed the finished creation to one of his co-workers, who promptly broke it, then put the parts away in a box.
"I've always been a bit fan of LEGO. I thought it was kind of interesting," Mr. Bell said of the replica gun kit, purchased online from a company called BrickGun. (On its website, BrickGun said its models do not fire projectiles. The company is not affiliated with or endorsed by the LEGO Group.)
An hour later, Mr. Bell said he heard a scream from one of his co-workers in the hall. When he went to look, he found members of Toronto police's emergency task force storming the building.
"These guys were yelling at me with their assault rifles and shotguns out," Mr. Bell said.
Mr. Bell said the officers pushed him against the wall and handcuffed him before they questioned him about the gun.
Toronto police spokesman Constable Tony Vella said it was a man from a neighbouring apartment building who called police.
"He was looking out his window. He observed a man at his desk. He was assembling a gun," Const. Vella said.
Mr. Bell told the officers that the gun was actually a toy made out of LEGO, and directed them to the box full of LEGO pieces. After that, he was quickly released. No charges were laid.
"A detective later came over to me and asked some questions, apologized and shook my hand. He said 'Hey, at least you've got a good story,'" Mr. Bell said.
Const. Vella said that even though the gun turned out to be a fake, police need to treat it as a dangerous call.
Mr. Bell says he's glad the police responded the way they did.
"I can't knock the police, they reacted the way I'd expect," he said. "I think it's unfortunate ... that people may say they overreacted. Or ask why a grown man is playing with LEGO."