LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) - A La Mesa business owner was sentenced to a two-year probation term Wednesday stemming from a scuffle with members of the local media in front of his clothing store.
Peter Carzis, 77, pleaded guilty last month to felony vandalism in connection with the January 2020 encounter with reporters who attempted to interview him outside his business regarding an alleged recording of him fondling a woman outside the store.
News crews gathered at Peter's Men's Apparel on La Mesa Boulevard to try to get a response from the defendant regarding the recorded incident, which was posted on the "La Mesa Happenings" Facebook page.
As cameras rolled, Carzis was seen cursing at the crowd before attacking a news photographer and slapping a phone out of a reporter’s hand before walking back into his store.
No injuries were reported, but Carzis caused "irreparable damage" to the videographer's camera, valued at about $7,000, according to La Mesa police.
He may still be required to pay for the camera, though the restitution issue was not addressed at Wednesday's sentencing hearing.
Police have told ABC 10News they've received at least two crime reports — one for battery and one for lewd act in public — in regards to separate incidents at the store in 2020.
Police have also looked into reports that the Carzis spit on a man as he was walking down La Mesa Blvd with his wife. Carzia denied that claim to ABC 10News.