Robert Bowling's LA-based game development studio Robotoki had a scare this week when heavily armed police officers from the LAPD raided the offices in response to a panic alarm going off. Polygon chronicles the saga pretty well – complete with some still photos from an ADT security camera – but the short of it is that things could have gotten ugly because of a cardboard cutout from a game.
The panic alarm was set off by a curious game designer who saw a freshly installed panic button and decided to press it. Bowling tells Polygon that he figured out who the culprit was after reviewing the security tapes.
"Our studio is equipped with a 'panic' alarm in case of an armed threat, which was installed yesterday," Bowling said. "One of our designers, who shall not be shamed, pressed it on his way out because apparently when boys find buttons that they are unsure of, their first instinct is to push it."
When police arrived at the offices they made their way to the entrance and encountered a life-sized statue of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's Simon "Ghost" Riley, which the police mistook for a gunman.
— Robert Bowling (@fourzerotwo) May 31, 2013
"I was in my office when they arrived and saw them coming up our stairs, guns drawn," Bowling said. "They yelled for me to put my hands up and walk towards them slowly, then took me into custody and out of the studio until they cleared the rest of the rooms and floors."
After they cleared the offices and realized that the man with the gun was actually a statue they all had a good laugh and chalked the incident up to an innocent mistake. They even played some games.
You can read the whole account on Polygon. While I know that whoever pressed that panic button may have committed an innocent act, this story could have ended with their studio head being shot to death by the LAPD. They have been known to shoot people by accident, after all.