Man accused of vandalizing Chula Vista High to appear in court today

CHULA VISTA - A preliminary hearing was scheduled Tuesday for a man accused of trashing and torching a South Bay high school cafeteria during a Thanksgiving Day break-in.

Azteco Frankie Soto, 26, is charged with felony arson, felony burglary and felony vandalism in connection with the Nov. 28 break-in at Chula Vista High School.

A judge will decide at the end of the preliminary hearing whether there's enough evidence to order Soto to stand trial.

Soto was already jailed on unrelated charges when he was re-arrested Jan. 3 and booked on suspicion of arson, burglary and vandalism.

A surveillance camera captured images of an intruder using a skateboard to smash a window at the lunchroom before entering, dumping food and seasoning containers onto the floor and starting a fire, according to Chula Vista police.

During the 40-minute vandalism and arson spree, the man also turned off the electricity, ruining refrigerated food stocks, CVPD Capt. Lon Turner said.

The total monetary loss was about $5,000.

Detectives recovered fingerprints at the crime scene, eventually leading them to identify jail inmate Soto as the suspected perpetrator.

The motive was unclear, though Soto allegedly confessed to police, saying that he was drunk and hungry when he committed the break-in.

Soto has been in custody since Dec. 2 accused of burglarizing a San Diego liquor store on Dec. 1.

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