Samurai in a Mall?

Police are questioning the safety of a samurai sword-style umbrella that was mistaken for a rifle yesterday at the Burlington Mall, prompting shoppers to be evacuated as police called in a SWAT team.

The man hasn’t been publicly identified, but he was described to police as a short white male, wearing a gray shirt carrying a “rifle.”

The Burlington Mall, located north of Boston, was evacuated and closed while SWAT teams swarmed the building.

However, a man who fit the description turned out to be an employee at a nearby hospital, who had stopped at the mall before work.

Mall workers said they feared a mass shooting when police told them to leave.

“Cops just came in and told us to evacuate the mall. There’s a guy with a gun,” said Jose Abdul, 26, manager of a Verizon store in the mall. “I couldn’t believe it. I just legged it out of there.”

The umbrellas are widely available on the Web, and sellers claim they don’t resemble guns, even when carried on a person’s shoulder.

“We live in a free country, and you can’t regulate everything, but common sense should tell you something that can easily be mistaken for a weapon shouldn’t be sold and people shouldn’t buy it,” said Burlington police Lt. Glen Mills.

(Boston Herald)