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Man with fake handgun arrested near North Van city library

Suspect was under court order not to possess imitation guns
Police arrested a man observed playing with a fake gun outside the city library on Saturday. | Juan Manuel Palacio

A man observed playing with what turned out to be a fake handgun outside the North Vancouver City Library was arrested in a dramatic takedown Saturday evening.

Police said they received a report around 7 p.m. Saturday evening from a witness who said they’d seen a man holding what was possibly a plastic imitation gun in the city plaza near the library on West 14th Street.

Officers flooded the area, and quickly located a suspect matching the description given by the witness at a bus stop on Lonsdale Avenue, a short distance away.

The man was arrested and taken into custody and the imitation gun was seized.

Photos of the scene from witnesses showed the suspect being handcuffed on the ground.

“Frontline officers treated this extremely seriously, following all the protocols in place for responding to incidents involving firearms,” said Const. Mansoor Sahak of the North Vancouver RCMP. Sahak warned anyone who carries a fake gun in public can expect a police response to follow. “It’s going to cause panic,” he said.

North Vancouver RCMP have responded to similar calls from time to time. Sometimes the calls involved youths involved in ill-advised games, while others have included adults – including some who may be using the fake guns to commit further crimes.

Sahak said in this case, there is no information on why the man was carrying a fake gun and displaying it in public.

During the investigation, it was revealed that the man arrested on Saturday was on probation and was under court-ordered conditions not to possess any imitation firearms or weapons.

Benjamin McBeath, 47, of no fixed address, has since been charged with failing to comply with a probation order.