The vending machines and toys being investigated in Bell Gardens. Photo: Bell Gardens Police Department

It’s a scary world with terrorists and crime, and a police warning on social media that a kid’s vending machine toy contained dangerous cocaine powder seemed to fit with everyone’s fears.

Only problem is the white powder wasn’t cocaine.

And it wasn’t even dangerous.

The white powder found in the toy bought from a Bell Gardens restaurant vending machine turned out to be harmless, though a test originally indicated it was cocaine, police now say.

The toy was purchased Monday from a gum ball-type machine at Taqueria Los Altos at 6939 Eastern Ave., according to Bell Gardens police Detective Miguel Torres.

While the boy was playing with the toy, it ruptured and a white powdery substance came out, prompting the boy’s mother to call police.

The white powder tested positive for cocaine and a total of 136 grams of the substance were removed and recovered, but the test was a false positive, police said.

“Additional testing … proved the substance was not cocaine,” according to a police statement.

“The specific substance resembles talcum powder or baking soda but has yet to be determined. We are, however, confident that it is not cocaine nor does it pose a health risk.”

According to police, public notifications were made via social media out of an abundance of caution and concern for the public, especially young children at risk of coming into contact with the toys, when it was thought the substance was cocaine.

–City News Service

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