Shop owner arrested after alleged attack on media, lewd act

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LA MESA, Calif. --  La Mesa clothing store owner was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attacking a reporter and a cameraman, whose equipment was seriously damaged, when news crews tried to interview him outside his business about other alleged crimes.

Peter Carzis, 76, was arrested Tuesday morning and booked on suspicion of 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.

Warning: The following videos contain graphic language.

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 , Peter's Men's Apparel on La Mesa Boulevard, 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."

La Mesa police detectives found Carzis early Tuesday morning at an undisclosed location in San Diego and took him into custody, Lt. Greg Runge  said.

Police are investigating both incidents "and will be submitting reports to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office recommending prosecution of all charges," Runge said.

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 a additional crime or has additional information about Carzis' current accusations, they should call the La Mesa Police Department at 619-667-1400, or call the Crime Stoppers’ anonymous, toll-free tip line 888-580-TIPS.

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