At first, Nickie O'Kelly was ecstatic to find a toy her 2-year-old daughter would actually like at a Monster Jam truck rally in January.
"I actually thought it was cute because it was pink," said O'Kelly about the stuffed truck. "I was like 'Oh, they actually have a pink toy for a girl, that's really cool.'"
But what started out as enthusiasm turned to disgust. Now the mother of three is hoping to warn others about a strange logo she noticed printed on the toy -- which might actually be a secret symbol used by pedophiles to communicate with each other.
The concern over the toy originally started after O'Kelly's oldest daughter said she had seen the double heart symbol, located on the toy truck's roof, on an episode of "Law & Order: SVU" before.
News 10NBC tracked down the episode in question, in which a child is sent the symbol from her abuser. The show's script explains what it means: "Hearts within hearts, girl lovers. That's a secret code for pedophiles."
Anna Potter of the Bivona Child Advocacy Center confirmed O'Kelly's worst fears.
"When I see that heart inside the heart, it's pedophile," said Potter of the symbol. "It's that underground culture that they use to communicate."
%shareLinks-quote="They're giving it to their daughter thinking it's a toy and then to someone else it could mean criminal behavior." type="quote" author="Anna Potter" authordesc="Bivona Child Advocacy Center" isquoteoftheday="false"%
Upon learning this, O'Kelly was absolutely devastated.
%shareLinks-quote="I'm absolutely sick. I bought this for my 2-year-old little girl. This toy was made for little girls. I wanted answers." type="quote" author="Nicole O'Kelly" authordesc="concerned mother" isquoteoftheday="false"%
While police were surprised to find a symbol similar to one used by pedophiles on a children's item, they assure that logo poses no danger to children who own the toys.
However, the company who manufactured the item, Feld Entertainment, still acted swiftly upon learning the unsettling news.
They have since pulled the toys from the shelves, and are urging anyone who purchased the toy at a Monster Jam event to contact them.
Stephen Payne, a company spokesperson, released the following statement:
We're shocked. We had no idea. We reacted immediately. We wanted to do the right thing as quickly as possible. Clearly we're in the business with providing high quality family entertainment. This was really obscure. Until yesterday, I had no idea there was an underlying meaning of these symbols and the deplorable behavior. We just don't know if a crime was committed here. We have not been contacted by LEOs [Law enforcement officials.] We just want to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Editor's note: This story originally misidentified Nickie O'Kelly as Paige O'Kelly. The post has been updated and amended throughout to correct the error.
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