A foster child found a gun inside a wrapped Teddy bear she received for Christmas. Her caretaker, Sheeba Anderson of Harlem, New York, picked up the gift from a SoHo church.Anderson received the Teddy, along with several other gifts, from St. Anthony's Church. They explained it came as an anonymous donation, forwarded by a nonprofit organization.
The NGO is approved by the Administration for Children's Services and has a long-standing collaboration with the church, NBC writes.
The 8-year-old girl opened the present when it was brought to the house. The Frederick Douglass residence is also home to 42-year-old Anderson's other five foster children.
"I heard her say, 'Look, Miss Sheeba, I found a gun! She was waving it around and playing with it. […] This is something you never expect on Christmas. I feel like we narrowly avoided what could have been a terrible disaster," she describes.
According to Gizmodo, the gun was empty and it was not in working condition. Its serial numbers had been scratched off and the firing pin was removed.
Even so, Anderson is asking for stricter safety measures when anonymous donations are concerned.
"Who knows what else was going on with this bear? It could have had drugs or needles or anything else in there. [...] This is the last thing I would have expected. Security has to be improved. These are anonymous donations. They could have come from anywhere and anyone," she says.
Meanwhile, the ACS is investigating her, as the gun was found in her residence, which is listed as 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," agency reps state.