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Boy becomes ultimate prize after he crawls inside of a toy claw machine


A 3-year-old boy from Lincoln, Neb., found himself living every child's dream on Monday, when he crawled inside a claw machine filled with stuffed animals and started helping himself to the toys.

The boy, whose name has not been released, slipped away from his apartment without his mother noticing, and made his way across the street to Madsen's Bowling Alley and Billiards. A bartender, Rachell Hildreth, told KLKN-TV that she saw him once he was among the plush toys, but "I really don't think he noticed any of us outside the machine because he was just picking up stuffed animals and putting them down where they come out."

The only way the toddler could get into the machine was by climbing up through the small prize hole. "You have to weave your way in and out so he had to work pretty hard to get in there," explained Jim Lackey, an employee of the company that owns the machine. "I had heard about this happening in other parts of the country. It's kind of a rarity."

Lackey came down with a key, and the boy was set free after Lackey opened up the machine's back door. No citations were issued for the child's mother, who police say acted "quickly and appropriately" once she learned her son was missing. As for the little boy, he was given a brand new stuffed animal, and will probably never find himself out of his mother's sight again. --Catherine Garcia