He cost them a trip to a local ticket vendor (i.e., the price of gas, which back then was 99 cents a gallon). They cost him an automobile (i.e., several thousand dollars). The guy was a total douchebag and deserved some comeuppance — but this was above and beyond poetic justice. An analogy might be, for example, someone who was sent to prison for life without parole for a small amount of marijuana (true story). There's justice.. and then there's extreme vengeance. They are not the same.