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Fake Grenade Launcher Shuts Down Elementary School

By  Wil Cruz and Tuan Nguyen | April 30, 2012 10:27am 

QUEENS — A toy grenade launcher sparked a scare that forced the evacuation of a Queens elementary school Monday morning, officials said.

The fake five foot firearm covered in a camouflage pattern was discovered in front of PS 68 Cambridge, which is located at 59-09 Saint Felix Avenue in Ridgewood, at about 9 a.m., police and education officials said.

It was initially thought to be a weapon that had been broken into pieces.

"There was a report of what appeared to be a dismantled gun attached to some wires in front of the school building," said Marge Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education.

A third grade teacher at the school, who wouldn't give her name, said the object had wires coming out of it and was next to the front gate of the school.

A police officer at the scene said it "looked quite real."

The teacher said, "We called the parents to inform them of the situation." Some parents rushed to  the school, she added.

The students at PS 68, which teaches grades Pre-K through fifth, were evacuated from the building, Feinberg added.

Police recovered the weapon without incident, the NYPD said. They said later it turned out to be a toy.

The evacuation involved about 800 children. Officials said they were allowed back in after 30 minutes, though the teacher said it was closer to 90 minutes.