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Early Halloween Costume Brings Out San Mateo Bomb Squad

SAN MATEO (CBS SF) -- A man who decided to try out his costume and dress up ahead of Halloween prompted an explosives scare in downtown San Mateo Monday that resulted in the dispatch of a police bomb squad, authorities said.

Police received several calls about a man in a car front of a market along the first block of East 4th Street wearing what witnesses described as a full gas mask and army gear with several grenades hanging around his neck.

The San Mateo County sheriff's bomb squad responded and evacuated a half-block area about 9:30 a.m.

Police detained the costumed man and said an "inert grenade" was found in his car, but they also indicated there was "no current danger" to the public.

The man was identified by police as Gilberto Masias, an employee at a local costume shop. Officers at the scene cited him for possession of an inactive grenade and released.

The San Mateo Police Dept. said in a Twitter posting that Masias' "early Halloween costume provoked (their) reponse."

SMPD Sgt. David Norris took the occassion to remind people to be mindful when choosing and wearing costumes in advance of Halloween.

"Costumes with very realistic weapons can create fear and safety concerns among the community members, and may provoke a response by law enforcement," Norris said.

(Copyright 2012 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)

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