December 29, 2021
The Force wasn't strong enough for a Darth Vader stuffed animal toy to conceal a pair of knives at the Philadelphia International Airport.
Transportation Security Administration officers found two knives sewn within a "Star Wars" teddy bear at a security checkpoint Monday. The bear belonged to a 9-year-old boy who was traveling with his mother, according to the TSA.
The teddy bear set off an alarm as it entered the X-ray machine at the checkpoint. The image showed that something was hidden inside the stuffed animal.
Upon further inspection, TSA officers discovered that the back of the bear appeared to have been resewed. After the stitches were removed, agents found the two knives within the teddy bear's stuffing.
"This is a good example of why we cannot assume that something as innocent-looking as a child's stuffed animal is not a risk to security," said Gerardo Spero, TSA's federal security director for Philadelphia International Airport. "Someone intentionally attempted to conceal two knives inside this 9-year-old boy's toy for whatever reason. It was a good catch on the part of our TSA officers."
Lions and tigers and bears--oh my! Oh no, no, no! @TSA officers at @PHLAirport detected two knives concealed inside a child’s stuffed animal yesterday. TSA officers noticed the back of the bear appeared to have been resewn. Toy belonged to a 9-year-old boy traveling with his mom. pic.twitter.com/RaLfy7jaBQ— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) December 28, 2021
The mother's name was not given. She was identified as a resident of Cortland, New York.
The woman told TSA officials that the teddy bear was a comfort toy for her son. She's likely to face a federal civil penalty for the security violation.