A Cortland woman was not arrested after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers Philadelphia International Airport security checkpoint found two knives sewn in the middle of her child’s stuffed animal on Monday, according to a TSA spokesperson on Wednesday.
The stuffed animal, which was a black bear portrayed as Darth Vader, “triggered an alarm as it entered the checkpoint x-ray machine,” according to a news release from the TSA on Tuesday.
“The x-ray image indicated something concealed inside the bear. Upon closer inspection, TSA officers noticed that the back of the bear showed signs it had been restitched,” the release continues. “TSA officers removed the stitches from the rear of the bear and pulled out two knives that had been concealed in the middle of the bear’s stuffing.”
A TSA spokesperson told The Cortland Voice Wednesday that the woman was not arrested on Monday since (the type of) “knives (found) are prohibited, but not illegal.”
Despite not being arrested, the woman could face a federal civil penalty for the security violation, the release states.
The TSA spokesperson, who refused to provide the name of the woman, said that the woman did not comment on the knives when they were found.
“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 TSA Federal Security Director for the airport in Philadelphia, Gerardo Spero, in a press release on the incident. Spero continued, “Someone intentionally attempted to conceal two knives inside this (child’s) toy for whatever reason. It was a good catch on the part of our TSA officers.”