A German man apparently of nervous disposition triggered a police alert when he reported a Siberian tiger lying asleep in front of his car in the western German city of Aachen.
"He had left his house and was walking up to his car when he saw this tiger. He took a step closer and was gripped by fear so he rushed back indoors and called the police," Paul Kemen, spokesman for the police in the city of Aachen, told SPIEGEL ONLINE on Monday. "He said he was scared."
He also rang the Aachen Zoo but couldn't reach anyone because it was too early in the morning.
When two police cars arrived at the scene, the 48-year-old man gave the officers directions by calling to them from the safety of his house, even though he was beginning to have his doubts about the animal because it hadn't moved a muscle since he spotted it.
'There Was Laughter'
"The officers approached the animal gingerly but then took heart and strode up to it. It was a high-quality stuffed toy, very real-looking, and didn't pose any threat," said Kemen. "There was laughter."
The tiger spotter didn't seem to find the incident quite so amusing. "He refused to give any interviews to the press and believe me, I could have arranged plenty for him," said Kemen.
The officers assumed someone had lost the toy and they placed it in the entrance of a nearby building, presumably confident that it won't cause another police call-out.