Thieves steal vacuum from Convenience Store

Published: Jan. 28, 2015 at 10:51 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 3, 2015 at 11:34 AM CST
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LAWTON, Okla._Thieves stole an unusual item from a Lawton convenience store this week. They took the vacuum and air vending machine, and did so in almost no time at all.

The theft happened early Tuesday morning at "The Convenience Store" on Southwest 11th Street and Tennessee Avenue. The store usually has exceptional surveillance video, but this time, it's not as good because the vacuum machine is in an area with virtually no lighting, giving just a small glimpse at the criminals.

Just last month, a clerk was robbed at gun point and that's just one of many in the past couple years. However, this one was just an odd crime and the store owner says it's hurting his customers.

The Convenience Store opens up every morning at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, a man trying to get to work had to stop by and get air because he had a flat tire.

"He was supposed to go to work, and he got shocked. He drove up to here and there was no air machine," said Afzal, store owner.

So, Afzal went to investigate.

"We went outside and there was nothing it was just gone," he said.

There isn't much to see in the surveillance video. The area of the parking lot in happened in is dark, but at 2:48 a.m. Tuesday, you see a car pull in and park near the machine. It only takes the criminals five minutes to get the machine unbolted and ready to pack up.

"Obviously, they already know how to take that off. It was anchored to the concrete and bolted in, and very strong, and they just pulled it," said Afzal.

The video shows the criminals back the car up to load it and take off behind the store, but only to get back on 11th Street and loop around the store and go north on Highway 281.

For a store that has had its share of dangerous robberies, this crime was just different.

"Might be $100 or $200 in quarters in that one. Other than that, I don't think it's of use for anyone," said Afzal.

However, Afzal says the area has improved since he bought the store in 2006 and his customers keep him motivated to continue.

"When I feel tired, somebody comes in, especially people who come from the neighborhood, kids come. I see them come and smiling, happy that gives me more courage. That pays off. My whole tiredness is gone," said Afzal.

Afzal has reported the crime to police, he is hoping the video, along with video from across the street at an RV store, and the machine's serial number will help catch the criminals.