Dad Uses Toddler To Steal Prizes From Mall Game Machine

Claw game machine in an arcade.
TY Lim / Shutterstock

Rockingham police are on the lookout for a man that introduced his toddler to a life of crime in order to rip-off a mall game machine.

The act was caught on tape — as can be seen on the video — and once the process got going, prizes just started popping out one after the other. The dad, who has yet to be identified, can be heard talking to the child throughout the process. While the toddler cannot be seen inside the game, it is quite clear that someone is in there, passing the prizes to the man crouched down in front of the prize dispenser.

Kotaku reported that eyewitnesses to the event said that they could see the toddler’s head in the machine. Based on various eyewitness reports and an examination of the game that was robbed, it is possible to do what is reported. The particulars are that the game — a claw machine in this case — was hosted in a BarBerCut Lite cabinet, which has a large prize return area to facilitate dispensing items. In this case, one thing that they stole was a Nintendo Switch console — a valuable prize indeed.

It is unknown if they only ripped off this one machine, or if there are more out there that the felonious family have hit using this technique.

By having a toddler back into the large prize return dispenser area, she was able to fit into the machine completely. At that point, she could reach her arms up into the prize area, where her father can be heard coaching her on what direction to move her arms in, and how to get the prizes out of the machine to him, according to Union Leader. While the total haul of what the family managed to loot isn’t known, it may be enough to qualify as grand theft, and the father could potentially face charges related to child endangerment and corruption.

Hannah Forese — a hostess at the Red Robin across from where the game is located — is the one that finally called mall security when she learned what was going on. Prior to that, Deputy Police Chief Robert Morin said witnesses to the crime stood around the game machine taking videos and pictures, failing to attempt to stop the theft in any way, according to Union Leader. Among the prizes that were stolen were a Nintendo Switch and “Gameboy DS” — although it is safe to guess that it was likely a 3DS, according to Kotaku.

The man is described as being Hispanic, and somewhere in his twenties to thirties with regards to his age. He was wearing a black Sig Sauer baseball cap, a blue T-shirt, and black shorts. He was also wearing an Under Armour belt with brown shoes. Anyone with information related to the theft is encouraged to contact the Salem PD.