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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 May, 2005, 05:04 GMT 06:04 UK
Houdini babe takes toy initiative
James Manges inside the toy machine
James had a bit of a reputation for this kind of thing
A three-year-old boy became trapped in a toy vending machine, after crawling inside to get a stuffed animal when his mother wasn't looking.

James Manges created a diversion and slid down a chute into the crane vending machine in Elkhart, Indiana, where he played happily with the toys.

His mother was initially amused, and took photographs of her son, but became alarmed when no one could find a key.

Firemen freed the boy, but, his mother said, "he definitely didn't get a toy".

Two-second slip

Danielle Manges took James to the local Wal-Mart store at 0330, when he was unable to sleep.

He wanted money to get a stuffed toy out of a crane vending machine, and when his mother said no, he threw his drink on the floor and took advantage of her momentary distraction to make his move.

"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.

James played happily among the toys and swung from the bars inside the machine.

James Manges inside the toy machine
Passers-by snapped James inside the glass box

His mother even went and bought a disposable camera to record the escapade, and other passers-by stopped to take photos too.

But when Wal-Mart staff found they had no key to open the machine, the fire brigade had to be called to force the vending machine open.

"I pulled him from the back, he came right to me, and then I handed him to mom," said Firefighter Jeff Herman.

"He was in a bit of trouble afterwards," said Danielle Manges.

She added that James had become adept at climbing out of his playpen, doors and even windows.

Now she is wondering whether she might have two little Houdinis to deal with.

"I'm pregnant," she said.

"If I have another one like him that's gonna top it off."


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