It began as a report of an attempted bank robbery with police swarming the branch.
It turned out to be nothing more than a man's belt buckle – which closely resembled a semiautomatic handgun.
Police surrounded the Wells Fargo Bank branch on Camino Ruiz near Mira Mesa Boulevard in Mira Mesa at 11:42 a.m. (Friday) after someone in the bank reported that a man had what looked like a gun under his shirt. Jacob Johnson, 24, of Rancho Peñasquitos was wearing a dress shirt, casual slacks and a belt with a gun-shaped buckle when he and his friend and neighbor Jeffrey Russell walked inside the bank.
Johnson was clueless as to why it might not be such a great idea to wear a gun belt buckle into a bank:
Several minutes later, they walked out of the bank to see 10 to 15 police officers with their guns aimed at them, Johnson said.
“They said, 'Put your hands in the air,' ” he said.
Officers handcuffed both men and put them in the back of separate patrol cars.
“I was like, 'What is going on here?' ” Johnson said. “They told me to empty my pockets and walk backward. They put me in the back of the car, and I didn't know what was going on. Cameramen were putting their cameras in my face, like I was some criminal.”
Sgt. Jim Schorr said that by 12:04 p.m., officers had determined that the situation was “Code 4” – police jargon for “everything's back to normal.” Johnson and Russell were released.
OK, perhaps the cops were just doing their jobs in making sure that Johnson did not pose a threat...but couldn't they have been nicer?
Johnson complained, “they called me an idiot and said, 'I can't believe you were wearing that right now.' ”
Although Johnson finds some of the incident amusing, he feels police could have handled it better.
“I mean, it's a belt buckle with half a gun,” he said. “It's on my waist. If it's a gun, it's pretty amazing that it can just float on my waist.”
Upon closer inspection, the police may not have been so critical of Johnson's decision to wear that belt buckle into a bank...but maybe his decision to wear it anywhere.
I wonder what will happen the next time Johnson decides to board an airplane...