Armed police went into action in the German city of Wuppertal after a woman reported seeing a masked criminal -- but having rushed to the scene, they were surprised to find not a crook, but a large stuffed toy.
The woman was returning late at night to her car in an indoor car park when she saw the suspected brigand through the window of a parked van, police said on Thursday.
Though she later admitted to only catching a glimpse in the darkness, she was sufficiently alarmed to alert the authorities.
Armed officers arrived in three cars and surrounded the van. What they found was a large toy beaver, strapped into the passenger seat.
A police spokesman said he struggled to see how the toy, which has two oversized front teeth, could have been mistaken for a person.