A male exotic dancer who caused havoc after shoppers spotted him carrying what appeared to be an assault rifle in Perth’s CBD has been charged by police.
Police swarmed King Street around 2.40pm on Sunday after Chad Satchell allegedly flashed the tools of his trade on his way to work.
The Nollamara man stunned shoppers when he began wandering down the street wearing a bulletproof vest and apparently armed with a gun.
Police pounced on the 31-year-old, later discovering Mr Satchell was actually a stripper on his way to work.
It is believed that Mr Satchell, the director of Fantasy Entertainment Australia, was playing the role of ‘sexy SWAT officer’ for a party he was going to attend.
Police discovered that the assault rifle was actually a gel gun.
Police charged Mr. Satchell with possession of a prohibited weapon and being armed in a manner likely to instill fear.
It is alleged that he placed the gel blaster pistol, similar in design to an AR-15 assault rifle, on the ground next to him and put on a pair of boots and a black military-style mesh vest with “SWAT” embossed on the back.
This led several buyers to call the police, believing the firearm was real.
Gel blasters, which fire water-filled gel pellets, have been banned in WA since July 2021 due to an increase in replica firearms being smuggled into the state and converted into live weapons.
At the time, Police Minister Paul Papalia said police were unable to tell the difference between gel guns and real guns on the street.
“It’s far too dangerous a situation to tolerate any longer,” he said.
“When a police officer responds to a call, they will assume that someone is in possession of a firearm.”
The rise of gel guns has become a problem for police who said they were confronted with the weapons nearly 150 times in 2020.
A police spokesman said Sunday’s incident was an important reminder of the potential consequences of displaying realistic weapons in public and possessing prohibited weapons.
“Members of the public who sought police assistance had genuine concerns for their safety and the safety of others,” the spokesperson said.
“The firearm in question appears very real and it would be very difficult for any member of the public to be able to determine whether it was in fact real or not.”
Anyone caught in possession of a gel gun faces maximum penalties of up to three years in prison or a $36,000 fine.
Mr Satchell is due to appear in Perth Magistrates Court on September 1.