Seth Horvitz ordered the 39-inch Westinghouse TV last week through one of Amazon’s third-party vendors, WTTG-TV reported.
Instead, he opened the large box Tuesday evening to find a military-grade assault rifle. The box was left in the hallway of his apartment building.
Horvitz immediately contacted police.
“They were a little confused at first. They’ve never seen anything quite like it,” he told Fox 5, a local television station. They just took my information and then said: ‘We’ll handle this weapon because it’s illegal to keep here.’ It’s illegal to transport in a car, so it can’t be returned,” Horvitz said.
“When I saw some metal parts inside the box, I thought, ‘Maybe this is a TV stand or mount or something,’” Horvitz said. “When I realized it was an assault rifle, it was pure shock and disbelief.”
According to CNBC, the box had two mailing labels: one with his name and address, the other for a Pennsylvania gun store that had ordered it from a supplier. Neither the gun store nor the supplier was identified.
“I was confused as to how that kind of mix-up could happen,” Horvitz said. “It surprised me to see how easy it would be for a gun to show up on someone’s doorstep — not just a gun, but an assault weapon.”
Sig Sauer, the gun’s manufacturer, described the weapon as “a potent AR-based rifle” that is the “choice when you require the power of a larger caliber carbine.”
A spokesman for Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department said that the case – which comes on the heels of two mass killings in the US in less than a month – remains under investigation, writes The Telegraph.
After contacting Amazon, the company’s customer service department gave Horvitz “the standard line of sending a dispute claim for sending the wrong product,” he said. According to Mashable, Horvitz also contacted the third-party Amazon seller, who denied any knowledge of the weapon.
UPS, which delivered the package, seems to have caused the mixup, Horvitz said. The box had two different address labels on it — one with his proper address, and one with another.
“UPS puts the name label on and then they put a second small sticker — a redundant sticker with the tracking information on it,” Horvitz said. “There were two different small stickers as well. There was a small sticker that matched the label under mine, and a small sticker that matched mine.”
“We’ve seen in recent weeks the tremendous damage these guns can do,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which campaigns for greater gun control in the United States.
“We have to be better than a nation where assault weapons are so prevalent and can so easily end up in dangerous hands,” he said in a statement. “It’s deeply disturbing.”
Amazon.com did not immediately respond to requests for comment.