Missing Nebraska toddler found in toy claw machine


by Jolie Lee, USA TODAY Network


Posted on April 16, 2014 at 7:43 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 16 at 7:48 AM

A 3-year-old boy who went missing from his apartment Mpnday was found inside a toy claw machine in a bowling alley across the street.

The boy's mother called Lincoln, Neb., police to report her son had gotten out of their apartment while she was in the bathroom, said Katie Flood, spokeswoman for the Lincoln Police Department.

Police canvassed the area and were notified by a man that a boy was inside the claw machine, Flood said.

The boy only could have gotten into the machine through the prize hole, reports KLKN-TV in Lincoln.

"You have to weave your way in and out, so he had to work pretty hard to get in there," said Jim Lakey with VVS, the owner of the machine, in an interview with KLKN-TV. He added, "It's kind of a rarity."

The boy was not paying attention to anyone outside of the machine "because he was just picking up stuffed animals and putting them down where they come out of," Rachell Hildreth, a bartender at Madsen's Bowling Alley and Billiards, told KLKN-TV.

So, did they have to use quarters to get him out? No, Lakey came to the rescue with a key to the machine, KLKN-TV reports.

The boy was uninjured and allowed to keep one of the stuffed toys from the machine, the station reports.

Police said the mother would not be cited because she acted quickly when she learned her son was missing.

Follow @JolieLeeDC on Twitter.