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Candy Distributor on the Hunt for Supplier of Unwanted 9/11 Toys

Sunday, September 5, 2004; Page A02

Sick as it may sound, there are people who would like to own a kid-size plastic airplane slamming into a toy version of the World Trade Center.

Luis Padron, who sells candy, unwittingly encountered some of these people when he started getting strange phone calls not long ago. The callers told Padron that packs of candy that his company, Lisy Corp., was selling around the country contained a disturbing plastic surprise. Padron checked and sure enough, inside his candy packs meant for kids was a plastic airplane crashing into little molded twin towers.


Luis Padron in Miami is trying to reclaim packages with this toy and another batch with a figure that looks like Osama bin Laden. (Peter Cosgrove -- AP)

A closer look revealed that some packs contained a plastic figure that resembles Osama bin Laden.

Padron whirled into damage-control mode. He started calling convenience stores and wholesalers, anyone who had received a shipment. His plea was simple: Send back the candy packs.

Padron is not sure how and why the packs ended up with such troubling toys, though he was checking into the supply chain, which reaches to China.

"This is something that pokes fun of my country," Padron said. "I'm offended by it."

The wholesaler has recalled about 14,000 candy packs. But word of the toys spread anyway. One guy called to offer $1,000 for a single toy. Padron had a ready response: They're not for sale. That's not the kind of money he wants to make.

-- Manuel Roig-Franzia


© 2004 The Washington Post Company