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On December 3 at an airport in St. Louis, a TSA agent confiscated the "weapon" from Phyllis May's sock monkey, "Rooster Monkburn" (a take-off on character “Rooster Cogburn” played by John Wayne in the movie True Grit). May, from Redmond, Washington, owns a small business selling customized sock monkeys online. As any of us would be, she was extremely surprised by the incident, at first believing that it was a joke. Apparently, it wasn't.
— NBC Charlotte (@wcnc) December 9, 2013
According to King 5 News, the following conversation took place between May and the TSA agent, as described by May:
“And the (TSA agent) held it up and said ‘whose is this?’” she said. “I realized oh, my God this is my bag.”
May said the TSA agent went through the bag, through the sewing supplies and found the two-inch long pistol.
“She said ‘this is a gun,’” said May. “I said no, it’s not a gun it’s a prop for my monkey.”
“She said ‘If I held it up to your neck, you wouldn’t know if it was real or not,’ and I said ‘really?’” said May.
The TSA agent informed May that she would have to confiscate the tiny toy gun and was supposed to call the police. In the end, the agent did not notify police.
“I said well go ahead,” said May. “And I said really? You’re kidding me right, and she said no it looks like a gun.”
“She took my monkey’s gun,” said May, "Rooster Monkburn has been disarmed so I’m sure everyone on the plane was safe. I understand she was doing her job but at some point doesn’t common sense prevail?”
According to King 5 News, on Monday, the TSA issued a statement, saying "TSA officers are dedicated to keeping the nation's transportation security systems safe and secure for the traveling public. Under longstanding aircraft security policy, and out of an abundance of caution, realistic replicas of firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags."
Yahoo News reports that the whereabouts of Rooster Monkburn's pistol are currently unknown.
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