A television publicity stunt could have ended in tragedy on Wednesday when Detroit police nearly got shot because they unknowingly staged a purse snatching at gas station used by FBI agents.


"An FBI agent almost shot a Detroit cop yesterday at this gas station while filling up," WJBK's Charlie LeDuff reported on Thursday. "It wasn't the agent's fault and it wasn't cops fault. It was the cop's bosses who came up the lame brain idea to simulate a purse snatching and then invite a TV crew to film your reaction, Detroit."

"Well, the immediate supervisor to these cops had no idea that this was going on until they called him all pissed off!"

Inspector Shawn Gargalino explained to LeDuff that the off-duty FBI agent had witnessed the simulated purse snatching and began chasing the officer.

"He pulls his weapon, and as he turns the corner around the gas station, he's stopped by another officer, who identifies herself as a police officer and don't shoot, don't shoot, this is a scenario," Gargalino said.

Lieutenant Chuck Flannagan told WJBK that there were enough real purse snatchings in Detroit that "most people aren't going to assume it's a mock robbery."

"You had citizens who could've been hurt," Gargalino pointed out. "A lot of people out here have CPLs now and carry weapons. They're tired of the crime that's going on in Detroit, and they might want to stand up and help somebody that's in this type of situation. It just so happened it's a gas station where the FBI fills up all their vehicles."

WDIV, the Detroit NBC affiliate that was invited to film the purse snatching, had not reported on the incident and did not return LeDuff's calls.

Watch this video from WJBK, broadcast June 7, 2013.

Fox 2 News Headlines

[Stock photo: Mugger ties to steal purse from woman via Shutterstock.com]