The logo of "Law & Order," NBC's legal drama television series. Wikimedia Commons/Vascer

An episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” proved valuable for an American mom, as it led to the identification of what may be a secret paedophile code. The symbol, she said, was found in a pink stuffed toy from a Monster Jam event.

Nicole O’Kelly, who resides in Florida, said that the souvenir she bought for her two-year-old daughter during a live motorsports show contained strange heart symbols. She thought they meant nothing, but what her college daughter said rocked her world to its core. O’Kelly’s elder daughter recognised the symbol after seeing it on “Law & Order: SVU,” wherein a paedophile used a similar-looking image as a code.

A child carrying an item with the image, which is made of two hearts enclosed in a circle, means that the kid is ready to be traded for sex, according to WFLA, a news radio channel in Tampa Bay. “I’m absolutely sick. I bought this for my 2-year-old little girl. This toy was made for little girls. I wanted answers,” O’Kelly told WFLA.

Feld Inc, which is responsible for the Monster Jam event and its official merchandise, said they were shocked to learn the news. Stephen Payne, a company representative, said that they had no idea that there was an underlying meaning of these symbols and the deplorable behaviour. “We’re shocked. We had no idea. We reacted immediately. We wanted to do the right thing as quickly as possible,” Payne said. “Clearly we’re in the business with providing high quality family entertainment. This was really obscure.

Payne continued that they don’t know if a crime was committed here, but they want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. The company has recalled the suspected toys, and encouraged those who attended the Monster Jam event on January 16th or February 6th to contact detectives.

Some Twitter users were also astounded with the news, and appreciated the information as a cautionary tale.

However, some Facebook users doubt that the image is really a secret paedophile code.

“The symbol by itself poses no danger and very likely was just some unpaid intern fetching Google images for icons to put on the design. It’s just hearts. Your kids are fine,” Victor Westbrook wrote.

Another Facebook user, Christy Bryant, has this to say: “This is getting ridiculous, two hearts ain’t gonna mean anything like that to anyone but a pedophile and there’s so many little symbols that people use to imply something, so does that mean everything should be banned?”

The others are taking the news with a grain of salt. “I don’t think that toy was intentionally painted with the paedophile logo. But it gives those monsters a means to innocently hand them out as bait to unsuspecting kids. So smart move for Monster Jam to recall these toys,” John Tran wrote. Some also advised to conduct more research to prove for themselves whether the story is true or not.

Monster Jam events are known for racing and freestyle competitions featuring monster trucks. These are held in various locations around the US and Canada. The show also tours globally, particularly in Europe, Australia, Mexico, Costa Rica and the Philippines.