05/09/2012

RI police investigating gun in toys at airport

Child unknowingly had gun parts and ammunition hidden inside stuffed animals

Associated Press

WARWICK, R.I. — A man whose child unknowingly had gun parts and ammunition hidden inside stuffed animals in his carry-on bag was detained this week at Rhode Island's T.F. Green Airport for three hours before being released, officials said Wednesday.

Authorities said federal transportation agents found the items Monday when the man and his 4-year-old went through security. The man, who has not been identified, said he didn't know the items were there.

Airport Police Chief Leo Messier said in a statement Tuesday the case "appears to be the result of a domestic dispute," but he didn't elaborate. Airport police, state police and the FBI are investigating.

The Transportation Security Administration said the man and his son were headed to Detroit when a TSA officer noticed the disassembled gun components "artfully concealed" inside three stuffed animals: a teddy bear, a rabbit and a Mickey Mouse.

One animal contained a .40-caliber gun, while another had a magazine loaded with two .40-caliber rounds and a firing pin. A third animal contained another part of a gun known as a slide.

The parts could have been assembled to make a usable firearm, authorities said.

Patti Goldstein, an airport spokeswoman, said the father was detained for three hours and let go. He continued traveling Tuesday.

The TSA and FBI declined to comment Wednesday. State police referred questions to airport police. Messier didn't immediately return a message Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press

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