LA MESA, CA (KSWB) — A store owner already accused of inappropriate behavior outside his East County store was arrested Tuesday morning after attacking members of the media, authorities confirmed.
Peter Carzis, 76, is suspected of felony vandalism and misdemeanor battery after Monday afternoon’s altercation with reporters and photographers, La Mesa Police Department confirmed.
Video from the incident shows Carzis pushing reporters and photographers, shouting obscenities at them. One reporter said Carzis shoved her camera equipment to the ground before pushing her.
“Carzis is accused of battering multiple reporters and causing irreparable damage to a video camera reported to be worth approximately $7,000,” LMPD said.
The media members had gathered outside the store to speak to Carzis about accusations by several residents that the shop owner sat outside his store and acted inappropriately to passersby.
A video shared online last weekend appeared to show Carzis sitting outside the shop with a woman on his lap and his hands up her shirt. Authorities confirmed he was suspected of misdemeanor battery and a misdemeanor lewd act in public stemming from that incident.
In another instance, “He pinched my stomach, grabbed my stomach and said, ‘you need to lose weight,'” a resident told FOX 5. “Then I go home and I’m just in tears because I’ve never been fat-shamed like that.”
Court records show a criminal case against Carzis in 2013 and two civil suits for harassment: one filed by a woman in 2013 and another by a man in 2015.
If anyone needs to report an additional crime or has additional information about Carzis’ current accusations, LMPD asked people to call the department at 619-667-1400, or submit to the Crime Stoppers’ anonymous, toll-free tip line 888-580-TIPS.
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