At first glance, even trained law enforcement officers might have trouble being able to tell the difference between a real gun and a fake.

The fact that fake firearms appear so realistic these days is another hazard that police officers must face. To give the public an idea of how difficult it is to spot a fake gun, the Woolwich Police Department posted a picture on its Facebook page of a real firearm, next to a fake that was seized during a recent motor vehicle stop.

"One of them (the replica) was removed from the waistband of an individual during a motor vehicle stop yesterday by one of our officers," police said in the post that asks facebook followers to try and identify which is which. "I guess that isn't much of a clue, but it does show you the potential dangers our brothers and sisters face daily. Luckily, no one was hurt during the interaction due mostly to the officers quick thinking and the suspects immediate compliance."

The incident mentioned in the post took place March 8 at 3:45 p.m. in the area of the Woolwich Municipal Building, NJ Advance Media reported. Authorities told the website that a license plate reader flagged the driver as having a suspended license. When police approached the car, they allegedly detected an odor of suspected marijuana. During the course of an investigation, the driver told the officers that he had a BB gun in the waistband of his pants, the article states.

The driver was arrested and the gun was confiscated without incident.

According to NJ Advance Media, police didn't know the gun was fake until after they took a closer look at it and realized that although it looked like a 9mm Smith & Wesson firearm, it couldn't have actually fired a 9mm round. In addition, it didn't have an orange safety tip to indicate that it wasn't real, the story states.

CAN YOU SPOT THE FAKE ?! Hint: One of them (the replica) was removed from the waistband of an individual during a...

Posted by Woolwich Township Police Department on Wednesday, March 9, 2016

 

Police told the website that the goal of the post was to educate people on some of the real-life challenges that officers face on a daily basis.

The day after the picture was posted, once a number of comments had been made, Woolwich police added a post showing that the gun pictured on the left was the fake.

"t's nice when you can take your time...zoom in on the photos...carefully analyze. Unfortunately, we do not get that luxury on the street. That being said, the one on the left is the fake and the one on the right is an actual 9mm," police wrote.

Woolwich police have not yet responded to a request for additional comment on the Facebook post.

The post comes a week before a Toms River man is expected to appear in court on weapons possession charges after he was arrested for using a fake gun while filming a movie in Woodbridge in November 2015.

Carlo Bellario was arrested after filming a shootout scene in a residential area. Concerned residents called police, not knowing a movie was being made. The NJ man said he wasn't aware that crew members had handed him a real Airsoft gun when he arrived at the set. He believed he was using a prop gun in the scene. If convicted of possession of a weapon, he could face up to five years in jail.

Sign up for the WPG Talk Radio 104.1 Newsletter

Get South Jersey news and information e-mailed to you every week.