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Gun parts found in boy's stuffed animals at Rhode Island airport

By Jim Barnett, CNN
updated 8:40 AM EDT, Wed May 9, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gun parts were inside a teddy bear, a rabbit and a Mickey Mouse toy, the TSA says
  • A 4-year-old boy had the animals inside a carry-on bag
  • His father says he didn't know the gun parts were in the animals, the TSA says
  • Incident appears related to a domestic dispute, police chief says

Washington (CNN) -- A man traveling with his 4-year-old son claims he didn't know that the three stuffed animals his little boy put on a conveyor belt at T. F. Green International Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, contained parts that could be assembled into a loaded handgun, the Transportation Security Administration says.

"It appears to be the result of a domestic dispute," said Rhode Island Airport Police Chief Leo Messier. An investigation by the airport police, state police and FBI determined there was no threat at any time to air safety, Messier said.

A TSA officer watched as a carry-on bag containing a stuffed teddy bear, a bunny rabbit and a Mickey Mouse toy went through a checkpoint X-ray machine Monday. The officer spotted the disassembled firearm components and ammunition concealed inside each of the stuffed animals, the TSA said.

Officers detected disassembled firearm  Officers detected disassembled firearm
Officers detected disassembled firearmOfficers detected disassembled firearm
Father said to be unaware of weapons  Father said to be unaware of weapons
Father said to be unaware of weaponsFather said to be unaware of weapons

Officers notified the Rhode Island Airport Police and conducted a search of the bag.

Inside the toys, officials say, they found the mainframe of a .40-caliber firearm, a magazine with two .40-caliber rounds, a firing pin and a slide.

The TSA says law enforcement officers interviewed the man, who stated he was unaware that there were gun parts inside the toys.

The items were confiscated and the father and son were allowed to continue their flight to Detroit.

Law enforcement agents continue to investigate the incident.

"This is just another example that threats can appear anywhere, and this is why TSA officers take a closer look at everything," the agency said in a news release. "It's also an example that shows that even though TSA has modified the screening process for children 12 and under, the security process is still just as effective."

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