Lincoln police say a 24-year-old woman called 911 Monday afternoon because her 3-year-old son was missing from her apartment.
Employees at the bowling alley across the street meanwhile called police to say a small boy was playing with stuffed animals inside the coin-operated machine.
It was unclear how the boy ended up inside the claw crane machine. A representative from the vending machine company let him out and he was reunited with his mother a short time later. He was not hurt.
Police say the mother was not cited because she quickly reported that her son was missing and there were no indications of neglect.