A young foster child allegedly discovered a hand gun nestled inside the teddy bear box set she received for Christmas, the New York Post reported.
Natasha Brunson, an 8-year-old Harlem girl, is in the care of Sheeba Anderson, who is foster mother to six children in total.
After collecting two bags of already-wrapped presents from St. Anthony’s Church in SoHo last Thursday, Anderson gave the presents out to her foster kids on Christmas.
Natasha received the mama-and-baby teddy-bear set, and after playing with the mother bear for a while, the girl reportedly the found the gun as she reached for the baby bear.
“I thought they were really pretty. So I was squeezing the bears and just starting to play with it,” Natasha told the Post.
“But then I reached in and took out a gun. I thought it was another toy that fell inside the box.”
Natasha said “Oh wow!” and waved the gun around to show her foster siblings.
Anderson quickly intervened and took the gun away from the child. Afterward she called the police, who collected the weapon; it was later discovered that the gun was inoperable and had no bullets --its firing pin also was removed, sources told the newspaper.
“This is something you never expect on Christmas,” Anderson told the Post.
“I feel like we narrowly avoided what could have been a terrible disaster. I couldn’t calm down all day.”
There were also no visible serial numbers on the pistol; investigators said they are attempting to determine the make and model of the gun and how it was donated.
St. Anthony’s Church, in SoHo, was not immediately for comment, while an ACS spokesman said the agency was “concerned” over the issue, reports said.
According to Anderson, since the donations are anonymous, they can come from anywhere, or from anyone. The foster mother urged that security must be improved in gift donations.
“I treat these kids as if they are my own. I also expect ACS to feel the same way,” she said.