Upon receipt of the box, Horvitz knew immediately the box clearly was not a large television set, but he thought maybe the box contained components for his newly purchased TV.
“When I saw some metal parts inside the box, I thought, ‘Maybe this is a TV stand or mount or something,’” Horvitz told Wired
in a phone interview.
So he did what any recipient would probably do, he opened it. Upon inspecting the contents of the box, he stunned to find an assault rifle neatly packed in the box. According to WAMU [Audio interview
], the rifle was a brand new SG 716, worth around $1,800, with some reporting
a suggested retail price of $2,132
"This isn't a toy and it's not something used for hunting necessarily," Horvitz told WAMU
. "It's used for killing people. That's what it's meant for — that's what this weapon was built for — so needless to say, I was shocked to have it sitting in my kitchen."
After contacting the third party seller he'd purchased the TV from on Amazon and not getting an immediate response, Horvitz called police. The Metropolitan Police Dept. arrived and took the weapon from the Northeast D.C. apartment.
"[The Police] were almost as confused as me, to tell you the truth. They themselves identified the weapon as an assault rifle when they saw it and said, 'Yeah, you can't keep this,'" says Horvitz.
Assault rifles are illegal in D.C. as is transporting them into the District, so Horvitz couldn't even ship it back.
The third party Amazon.com seller he'd purchased the TV from denied any responsibility in sending the rifle. Also, UPS, the delivery company who brought the package, left it at his doorway. WAMU said they'd contacted UPS multiple times for a statement, asking what precautions the delivery service makes when transporting these types of weapons, but reported they had not received a reply at their time of publish.
Doing some investigation of the package, Horvitz found a label underneath the one that contained his name and address; this label was for a gun shop in Pennsylvania. It was confirmed the shop had been waiting for the very weapon shipped to D.C.
An updated report on MyFoxDC News
identifies the shipper of the gun as The Florida Gun Exchange who says the gun was shipped correctly and "is looking to UPS for answers". The theory is there was perhaps a mix-up at UPS with labeling. Fox News reported a UPS spokesperson said the company has been in touch with D.C. Police and is cooperating with the investigation.
"Whoever made the mistake, it's pretty serious. I think it should be followed up," said Horvitz, reported Fox.
In the meantime, he has no idea where his TV set is.