ORLANDO, Fla. (July 17) - Airport security workers found a loaded handgun stuffed inside a brown teddy bear that a 9-year-old boy was carrying on a trip home after his family's Florida vacation, authorities said Thursday.
The FBI is investigating how the gun got inside the teddy bear.
A Transportation Security Administration worker noticed the outline of a gun when the bear passed through an X-ray machine at Orlando International Airport on Saturday.
found a loaded .22-caliber gun after the bear was opened. The boy's family told investigators that the bear was a gift from a girl at the hotel where they stayed during their Orlando vacation.
''She appeared at their hotel room door and offered them the bear,'' said Robert Johnson, a TSA
spokesman in Washington. ''The mother said it was OK
and so the boy took it.''
The Miami Herald reported that the gun had been concealed by cutting a half-inch hole at the bottom of the bear, and that the gun had been reported stolen in 1996 in California.
Johnson said the incident ''underscores the need to screen everyone and everything no matter how innocent the people or their belongings may appear.''
The boy's parents, Robert and Angela Barry of Grove City, Ohio, were questioned by FBI agents and released. The boy turned 10 on Monday.
From her home in suburban Columbus, Angela Barry said she didn't want to talk about what happened until the FBI investigation was finished.
''I want every way possible for them to find out who did this,'' she said.
The FBI did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
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