• The X-ray machine at the airport triggered an alarm as toy passed through it
  • The officers removed stitches from the toy's back to find two knives in the stuffing
  • Details were not disclosed about why the knives were hidden inside the toy

A New York woman traveling with her 9-year-old son was caught with a pair of knives hidden inside the boy’s stuffed toy.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) caught the mother at a security checkpoint at the Philadelphia International Airport on Monday.

The knives were found “artfully concealed” and sewn inside a Darth Vader teddy bear, which the unidentified mother claimed was her son’s comfort toy. Security officials at the airport inspected the toy after it passed through the X-ray machine and raised an alarm, according to NBC affiliate WSAV News 3.

“The stuffed animal, which appeared to be a black bear in a space-age technology suit and cape, triggered an alarm as it entered the checkpoint X-ray machine,” said a statement from TSA.

TSA officers noticed the back of the teddy bear had been restitched.

“TSA officers removed the stitches from the rear of the bear and pulled out two knives that had been artfully concealed inside the toy, in the middle of the bear’s stuffing,” the statement added.

It was unclear why the woman and son were traveling with the hidden knives. The mother was allowed to continue with her journey, but was likely to face a federal civil penalty for the security violation, according to TSA spokesperson, Lisa Farbstein.

"The mother did not provide a statement related to why/how the knives came to be in the stuffed animal,” Farbstein told McClatchy News via email, as reported by the Miami Herald.

Farbstein also said it was unclear whether the 9-year-old son was allowed to take the teddy bear with him, or whether the toy was held back as evidence.

Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport, also noted how even the most "innocent-looking" items at an airport can be potentially dangerous. In the case involving the Darth Vader teddy bear, Spero said it was clear somebody intentionally placed the knives inside.

“This is a good example of why we cannot assume that something as innocent-looking as a child’s stuffed animal is not a risk to security,” Spero said. “Someone intentionally attempted to conceal two knives inside this 9-year-old boy’s toy for whatever reason. It was a good catch on the part of our TSA officers.”

Representative image Credit: Pixabay