Man Orders TV Through Amazon, Receives Assault Rifle Instead

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Courtesy of Seth Horvitz

Receiving a large package in the mail is usually pretty exciting, especially if you expect it to hold that new flat-screen TV you ordered online.

That’s what D.C. resident Seth Horvitz was expecting when he found a box waiting for him outside his apartment Tuesday. But the long, narrow package couldn’t possibly contain the 39-inch television he’d ordered from an independent seller on Amazon. Maybe it was a TV stand or some other accessory, he thought. So he opened the box  — only to find an Army-style assault rifle. Wait … what?

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After briefly contemplating himself holding the Sig Sauer SIG716 semiautomatic assault rifle now in his possession, Horvitz contacted D.C. police. Authorities deemed the weapon an illegally-shipped firearm and quickly confiscated it. But police weren’t the only ones disconcerted by the unsolicited weapon that showed up on Horvitz’s doorstep. In the wake of tragic gun violence in Wisconsin and Colorado over the past month, attributed to high-powered weapons, “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,” Horvitz told the Washington Post.

The error seems to have resulted from a labeling mix-up within the UPS system, Horvitz told TIME Thursday. The box was addressed to Horvitz, but the invoice he found inside indicated that the rifle was meant to go to a gun shop in Pennsylvania. The third-party Amazon seller has refunded Horvitz’s money and has also filed a claim with UPS. The original package Horvitz was expecting — the one containing his TV — is nowhere to be found.

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