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Foster child, 8, unwraps donated gift, finds teddy bear and gun

An 8-year-old foster child in Harlem opened up a donated gift on Christmas morning and found this teddy bear, armed with a pistol (lower right corner)
CBS New York

(CBS) NEW YORK - On Christmas morning in Harlem, an 8-year-old child with her foster mom unwrapped a donated gift and discovered a teddy bear - and a pistol - in the same package, CBS New York reports.

Was someone sending a message about the right to arm bears?

"She had a teddy bear in there and then she was waving around this gun and I was just shocked," the foster mother, Sheba Anderson told CBS New York on Thursday.

The station met with the girl, Natasha, who said when she saw the gun she wasn't scared; she thought it was a toy.

"It looked like a start gun, you know, [a] starter pistol," Manhattan gun expert Charlie Hu told the station.

The kind of gun used to start a foot race - designed to fire blanks but nonetheless dangerous in the hands of a child, Hu said.

The armed teddy was one of several gifts Anderson reportedly picked up at St. Anthony's Church in SoHo a week ago Thursday.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Administration for Children's Services said they are "investigating how and why an inoperable weapon was discovered in a foster home. We are concerned when any potential risk in a foster home comes to our attention, and are working to ensure that all of the children in the home remain safe."

Police said the revolver was empty. CBS New York reached out to the Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families to find out who donated the bear, but did not hear back.

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