Luckily, it was just a life-like replica and not an escaped con-artist.

A Prince William County police officer received quite the scare when faced with what appeared to be a live tiger in an alleyway behind a Virginia shopping center. As it turns out, the tiger was just a life-like replica. 

The officer snapped some quick photos of the replica and posted a warning to Facebook for other business owners to carefully dispose of the life-like replicas properly, by putting them in the bin or in a bag rather than out in the open. 

"Note to business owners, when disposing of realistic, life-size animal statues, please do so with caution. While on proactive patrol in a county shopping center, one of our officers experienced a moment of...uh...shock before realizing this little guy was harmless." The Prince William County Police Department posted on Facebook.

The photos have received over thousands of reactions and shares and hundreds of comments with their thoughts on the mixup -- people are still commenting. 

Courtesy of Prince William County Police Department

The Virginia shop owners simply placed the tiger in the middle of the alleyway, in front of the dumpster, instead of disposing of it properly.

The Virginia officer stated that the big cat looked "real" just standing next to the garbage bins with its tail up and fangs showing and did not realize that it was a replica until he shined his lights on the figure. 

Although the tiger turned out to be fake, the officer still received quite the scare. What would have happened if the tiger had turned out to be real? Police officers have to be prepared for the worst scenarios. 

Do you find this incident hilarious or scary? Tell us in the comments. 

**Featured image courtesy of Hot News

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