LINCOLN, Neb. -- New cell phone video shows a kid happily playing inside a claw machine while police and bowling alley patrons stare in amazement.
Employees at Madsen's Bowling Alley said a customer alerted them that a young child was stuck inside the claw machine on Monday. One employee said the child was completely inside and happily playing with the toys.
At the same time police were called to a home nearby on Orchard on a report of a missing child. Police say a 24-year-old woman called 911 when she discovered her 3-year-old boy, Kael, had slipped out of her apartment.
"I washed my hands," says Ashley Ireland, the child's mother, "and by the time I got done washing my hands he had disappeared out the front door."
Police say she was in the bathroom when the boy left through an unlocked door.
Meanwhile, Madsen's called police and the vending machine company to come let him out.
A Madsen's employee took a photo of the boy while they waited for police and someone to come let the boy out.
"Disbelief," Rachell Hildreth said.
"We all kind of came over to this side and there several of us gathered around. Sure enough, there was a little boy just playing with stuffed animals inside the bear claw machine."
Employees said by the time the vending employee arrived, an officer and a family member were also at the business.
"She called me and said they found him," recalls Ashley Ireland, "and I said, 'Oh thank god' and then she goes, 'He's stuck in one of of the machines' and I said, 'What do you mean stuck in one of the machines?'"
Jim Lakey, who works at the company in charge of the machine, was the one that arrived to let the boy out of the machine.
Lakey said after 38 years in the business, he has never seen something like this in person.
"He wasn't hurt and the parents were glad that we got him out of there," Lakey said.
"And, it took him some time to get in there. It wasn't easy for him to do, let's put it that way."
The boy was freed from the machine without any injury.
Police say there were no citations because she acted quickly and appropriately as soon as she realized her son was missing and there were no indications of neglect.