Van with fake weapons causes scare at Nashville airport - WSMV Channel 4

Van with fake weapons causes scare at Nashville airport

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

From a distance, a Nashville man's van may look locked and loaded. The driver said the fake weapons are a show of support for the troops. Authorities at the Nashville International Airport saw something quite different when the vehicle broke down close by. 

"Well, this is the 'War Wagon,'" said Jeffrey Smith, motioning to his van. "I've got four sidewinder missiles. I got two 50 caliber machine guns on the front."

Smith has a ride that commands attention.

"When their jaw comes back up, people are just like, 'Man, that's the coolest thing I ever seen,'" said Smith. 

Painted back to front with camouflage with a fake grenade over the dash, Smith said nothing on his van is real. 

"All the armaments on this are PVC pipe and wood," said Smith. "That's it. It's not going to hurt nobody."

Even casings on the van have holes drilled in them so they can't be used.

This week, police didn't know any of that when the War Wagon broke down outside the worst possible place.

"Of all the places to break down, it was Interstate 40 next to the airport," said Smith. "I had nine, maybe ten police cars to come up here, and they had a bomb sniffing dog. I said, 'Well, what do you think of my craftsmanship?' They said, 'Well, it got us out here.' I must've done a great job on it."

Smith said he explained he's a member of a group supporting prisoners of war and missing in action soldiers, Rolling Thunder. He said the van is used to draw attention to any soldier who has put their life on the line for their country. Smith said he usually drives the War Wagon in parades and benefits, often raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

"It's not intended to scare people or make people nervous," said Smith. "It's to give awareness."

Smith said the quick police response actually makes him feel safer. 

"It just showed that the police and airport police were doing their job," said Smith.

Still loaded up with PVC missiles and machine guns, Smith said the War Wagon has a job to do. 

"Maybe someone will see it going down the road and recognize what our troops do for us," said Smith.

Smith added, the War Wagon has now been added to a police database, so other officers will know what it is, and it won't cause alarm. 

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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