Shocking Christmas Morning In Harlem Leads To Heat For New York City ACS

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A gift-giving event for foster children went terribly wrong. A teddy bear came wrapped with a gun and then got into the hands of a child.

It was a Christmas morning in Harlem that turned frightening.

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What looks like a revolver was discovered by an 8-year-old as she unwrapped a donated teddy bear in front of her foster mom Sheba Anderson.

“She had a teddy bear in there and then she was waving around this gun and I was just shocked,” Anderson told CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian on Thursday.

CBS 2 Met with the little girl, Natasha, but she wasn’t identified for this story because she’s in foster care. She told Dardashtian when she saw the gun she wasn’t scared, she thought it was a toy.

But Manhattan gun expert Charlie Hu said it was no toy.

“It look like a start gun, you know, starter pistol,” Hu said.

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

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The armed teddy was one of several gifts Anderson said she picked up at St. Anthony’s Church in SoHo last Thursday.

“It’s not a church-sponsored program or organization. I know it’s this … I have the name of the group, this Edwin Gould Services for Children and Family,” a spokesman for the church said.

The Administration for Children’s Services contracts with the nonprofit. In a statement, a spokesman said ACS is “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.”

“You need to check these gifts wherever they come from,” Anderson added.

As for Natasha, she got lip gloss and a jacket instead. She said she didn’t like the outdated teddy anyway.

Police said the revolver was empty. CBS 2’s Dardashtian 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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