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A grinch slipped a real handgun into a wrapped gift that was part of a church gift collection for foster kids — and it ended up in the hands of an 8-year-old Harlem girl who found it alongside a mama-and-baby teddy-bear set, The Post has learned.
Natasha Brunson said, “Oh wow!” and waved the gun around to show everyone on Christmas morning — but luckily, it was inoperable.
“This is something you never expect on Christmas,” said her foster mom, Sheeba Anderson.
“I feel like we narrowly avoided what could have been a terrible disaster. I couldn’t calm down all day.”
BAD BEAR: A Harlem foster child opening a donated present found this pistol at the bottom of the box.
Anderson, 42, picked up two bags of already-wrapped presents last Thursday from St. Anthony’s Church in SoHo.
She brought them to her home in the Frederick Dougla## Houses for her six foster kids.
On Christmas morning, she handed out the gifts to the thrilled children, including the box to Natasha.
“I thought they were really pretty,” little Natasha said. “So I was squeezing the bears and just starting to play with it.”
When she reached inside to grab the baby bear, she felt something hard, but figured it was simply a stand.
“But then I reached in and took out a gun,” she said. “I thought it was another toy that fell inside the box.”
Anderson was watching another child open a gift when she spotted Natasha holding the pistol.
“I heard her say, ‘Look, Miss Sheeba, I found a gun!’ She was waving it around and playing with it.”
Anderson took the gun from the girl and checked the other donated presents to make sure there weren’t potentially dangerous items in the packaging.
“I grabbed the dolls, too, and started examining them,” she said.
“Who knows what else was going on with this bear? It could have had drugs or needles or anything else in there.”
Anderson also called police, who took the weapon.
The firing pin had been removed and there were no bullets or visible serial numbers, sources said.
Investigators were still trying to determine the make and model of the weapon and how it was donated.
The gifts were provided by a nonprofit that has a contract with the Administration for Children’s Services, sources said.
Calls to St. Anthony’s were not returned.
An ACS spokesman said the agency was “concerned” over the incident.
Anderson was outraged that the weapon had made its way into her home.
“I treat these kids as if they are my own. I also expect ACS to feel the same way,” she said.
“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.”
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Source: EXCLUSIVE: Harlem foster child finds silver handgun in a donated Christmas gift that had been collected at a SoHo church - NYPOST.com