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Toddler rescued from Conyers bank vault

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

CONYERS -- A 14-month-old girl who wandered away from her mother and grandmother spent several tense hours trapped inside a time-locked bank vault was freed Friday night.

A locksmith pried the toddler unharmed from the vault Friday night about four hours after she went missing while visiting a grandparent who worked at the Wells Fargo bank branch office at 1903 Ga. Highway 20, across from the Mellow Mushroom restaurant.

Authorities said police and firefighters couldn't free the toddler and feverishly summoned the locksmith after the child apparently strayed into the open vault as the bank was closing Friday -- before an employee shut the vault door for the day.

Conyers Police Chief Gene Wilson told reporters it was a ''very tense scene'' as authorities stood by along with the relatives, and rescue workers pumped fresh air into vents leading to the vault.

The child was spotted on security cameras inside the vault, which has a time-release lock, Wilson said. He said the locksmith used a large drill to breach the vault about four hours after it had been closed.

''That was one of the better moments I've ever witnessed,'' Wilson said, adding the girl was fine save a needed diaper change.

He said the girl delivered a note written by her grateful mother to the locksmith before heading home.

Authorities did not release the child's name.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.