Bugle Miami

Angry customer damages taco counter, verbally abuses employees at South Beach restaurant

A tough customer caused trouble at a South Beach restaurant by going off at the employees and destroying the taco counter, which prompted managers to close the business early.

Surveillance video captured the man going off at the employees at Taquiza on 13th and Collins Avenue last Friday night, damaging the COVID barrier in the process.

Christine Martinez, the operations manager of the restaurant chain, showed 7News the crack on the barrier from the damage caused by the angry customer.

Martinez said the on-camera hothead had just been in a fight outside of the restaurant and thought he had left some items inside, but she said that was not the case, as the customer’s friends had already collected his belongings.

When employees told him that, all hell broke loose.

“That’s when he proceeds to punch the acrylic barrier, destroy that piece of property and drop everything that’s on the bar area onto the floor,” Martinez said.

The destructive meltdown rattled patrons and employees, forcing Martinez to close early.

Miami Beach Police showed up and video was pulled, showing the man determined to have made the night at the restaurant so miserable, said Martinez.

Taquiza posted the picture and surveillance footage on Instagram over the weekend asking for help from police officers and the city’s mayor in finding the man.

Another closer look at the video started with the customers ready to order, then the man shattered the protective barrier, prompting customers to leave, and the man destroyed even more property after they left.

Now the owners hope the public will help identify the tough customer.

One of the employees said he was so scared of the man, he did not want to return to work at the South Beach location of Taquiza.

If you know who the man in the photo and surveillance video is, call Miami Beach Police or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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