The mother of the 3-year-old Nebraska boy who was reported missing before being found safe inside a claw machine at a nearby bowling alley will not face charges.
The mother, who was not identified, called 911 Monday evening to report she could not find her son in the family’s Lincoln, Neb., home, according to police officials.
At nearly the same time, at a bowling alley and billiards business across a one-lane side street from the family’s home, a patron reported seeing a young boy stuck inside a claw machine.
“A patron went inside the bar and asked if anyone was missing a little boy,” Randy Lee, a front counter worker at Madsen’s Bowling and Billiards told GoodMorningAmerica.com. “No one said anything and she said, ‘There’s a boy stuck in the machine.’”
“They thought maybe his arm was stuck and the bar maid went out and saw him actually stuck inside,” Lee said.
Employees called police, who, by that time, had also received the missing persons call from the boy’s mother.
Madsen employees called Value Vendor Services (VVS), which owns and operates the claw machine, to come and unlock the machine.
Nearly half an hour after he was found inside the machine, the young boy was safely removed and returned to his family.
“He was oblivious to everybody standing outside the machine watching him,” Lee said. “You could just see him in there playing with the stuffed animals and not paying attention to what’s going on outside at all, and that was even after the police officers got there too.”
Lee says the claw machine is located against a wall inside Madsen that is not visible from the front counter. Lee did not know how long the boy was inside the machine before he was found around 5:30 p.m. Monday.
“If you look at the machine, it’s crazy,” Lee said of how the boy could have entered. “He had to have squeezed himself in through the door, waited until the door closed and then climbed over a glass shielding to get in where the animals are.”
The owner of the claw machine gave the boy a stuffed animal after he was rescued, according to Lee.