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Green Bay police explain why incidents involving fake guns are rising

Capt. Clinton Beguhn says he doesn't think there is one clear reason why these incidents are becoming more of a problem
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Posted at 9:08 PM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 12:48:23-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Green Bay Police are dealing with an increasing number of incidents involving fake guns.

Body cam video after Green Bay's Fire Over the Fox event last week shows police were working crowd control in the downtown area when a teen appeared to flash a gun at officers.

Officers eventually arrested the teen and discovered the gun was fake.

The department says the teen told officers the gun wasn't real, and his friends told him to flash it at police.

"Just frustrating that you deal with this behavior," Capt. Clinton Beguhn said.

Incidents involving fake guns are becoming more common in Green Bay.

According to police, since June, officers have investigated 18 incidents involving so-called gel guns. Those are air guns with gel pellets, but they can look real. Most of those incidents were with minors.

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In the last week alone, police say they've encountered two more situations with fake guns.

"I think part of it is the juveniles are just, they're kidding around, or some kind of protection, or to get a point across," Beguhn said. "I think part of it is parental supervision and knowing what your kids are doing."

Beguhn says these types of incidents could bring criminal charges, even if a fake gun is used.

"Could be terrifying the public, and scaring a lot of people in the process," Beguhn said.

Beguhn says these situations are hard for officers because they have to treat the guns as if they're legit.

"It's just almost impossible to tell until you actually pick it up and look at it," Beguhn said.

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Beguhn says police are talking to kids and more officers are patrolling throughout downtown.

But it doesn't change how difficult this problem really is.

"Just trying to get out the message to the public — don't do this," Beguhn said.

Police say parents should not be buying these fake guns for their kids. If they do, police say they should be kept in a safe place like a real gun, or have an adult supervise their children.