Police: Angry over stolen money, woman torches vending machine

Published: Oct. 11, 2012 at 6:49 PM CDT
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NEW BERN, NC (CNN) - A vending machine that eats your money can certainly be frustrating, but a North Carolina woman may have taken the situation a step too far.

The woman now faces felony charges for getting revenge on the inanimate object.

Authorities say 43-year-old Debra Johnson was caught on camera showcasing her pyrotechnique skills on a surveillance camera positioned in front of a 7-Up vending machine outside a Piggly Wiggly.

It caught her.

Gilbert Crary couldn't believe what he saw when he showed up at work, later that day.

"She went and got a newspaper, lit it on fire, and stuffed it inside the machine," Crary recalled.

What made Johnson so mad that she had to take her frustration out on the vending machine? Well, turns out the darn thing wouldn't give her her drink nor would it give her her money back.

Store surveillance shows the woman kicking the machine.

She lights the fire, then grabs a drink from another vending machine and walks away.

Minutes later, flames shoot out, melting all $35 worth of change and whatever else was left inside.

Unlike the machine that took her money, Johnson didn't hold back during her first appearance, telling the judge she didn't need a lawyer.

"I'll represent myself, 'cause I'm guilty," Johnson stated, "I don't need a lawyer to lie for me, cause I'mma tell you I done it."

Waving her right to an attorney and refusing to pay the $10,000 bond, Johnson will get her chance to come clean again during her next court appearance.

Johnson has several misdemeanors on her record, dating back to 1989.

She now faces two felony charges: burning of personal property and burning of certain buildings.

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