3-year-old rescued from stuffed-animal vending machine
ELKHART, Ind. - A crane vending machine can be frustrating enough when you’re trying to snatch a little stuffed toy from its steely clutches. Imagine if the prize it’s denying you is your own 3-year-old son.
James Manges II managed to climb up the chute and inside one of the machines Thursday, swinging around for an hour amid the plush toys he coveted before firefighters freed him.
James’ mother, Danielle Manges, said they had paid an early morning visit to a Wal-Mart in this northern Indiana city because he had been sick and was sleeping odd hours. After she denied him money to play the vending-machine game, he threw a juice box and climbed into the machine while his mother picked it up.
“Within two seconds he had climbed through the hole, into the chute and pushed the door shut so we couldn’t get him out,” she said.
At first, Manges thought it was funny: “He was playing with all the toys and hanging from the bar like a monkey.”
She even bought a disposable camera to take pictures, as other shoppers did. But she soon became upset when Wal-Mart employees said they did not have a key to let James out.
Firefighters removed the back of the machine to free James — who went home empty-handed.
“He definitely didn’t get a toy after that,” Manges said.
The Associated Press
Updated: 10:06 p.m. ET May 21, 2005