MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A man, after losing four quarters in a vacuum cleaner machine at a gas station, became upset last week and decided to do something about it.

The customer is captured on surveillance tape at a Westar Gas Station in Kendall, wrapping some sort of rope or chain around the machine that reportedly took his money and then using his truck to pull the vacuum down.

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The owner of the vacuum cleaner, that has since been replaced, wants the customer who destroyed his machine to be held accountable.

“If he could do this kind of damage for a dollar he could kill somebody tomorrow for anything else,” said Juan Vilches, the machine’s owner. “This is the kind of guy who needs to get caught and put behind bars.”

The incident, which happened last Thursday around 10 a.m., started after the customer lost a dollar in the machine.

The customer went inside the gas station asking the clerk who owned the vacuum. Vilches says that the clerk told the customer she didn’t know, and the customer went back outside upset.

Then, captured on surveillance, the customer walked out and decided to take matters into his own hands.

Vilches told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “He basically takes some sort of chain or rope. I don’t know what it is that he took with him and basically wraps it around the machine and basically rams his vehicle forward and knocks the machine out.”

The victim said the customer’s actions lead to $3500 worth of damage at the Westar station at 6776 S.W. 117th Ave.

“At the same time he rips out all the electrical wires running from the machine and we needed to get the electricity repaired,” said Vilches. “There were live electrical wires out and someone could have been hurt.”

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Store employees say he had not even asked for his dollar back and said that, had he asked, he would have been refunded. Another option, they said, was that he could have called the number on the vacuum.

“I have a 24-hour answering service that’s open 24-hours a day. All they have to do is leave their name, and home address, the address where it happened and we’ll be glad to send out a check made out for them. We do it everyday,” said Vilches.

Store employees say the man was a regular customer. They said that he speaks Spanish, is bald, has a goatee, and is about 45-years-old and five foot, seven inches tall. He was driving a white Chevorlet pickup truck.

“That’s why we hope with this video out there and if they recognize this guy please call in to the police department,” said Vilches.

Store employees said they don’t know the customer’s name.

Miami-Dade Police spokesman, Detective Alvaro Zabaleta, said police were working on leads but had not identified a suspect at this point.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).

Watch the report, click here.


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Peter D'Oench