Man Arrested After Pre-Dawn Rampage on Avenue in Vista

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 29-year-old man is in custody after going on an early-morning rampage Tuesday in downtown Vista, smashing windows in 13 businesses and destroying a computer in one of them.

Sheriff's Department investigators don't know why the man, armed with a pipe, broke the windows in businesses located in an eight-block area of South Santa Fe Avenue, said Detective Don Phelps from the Sheriff's station in Vista.

Although still undergoing treatment at San Diego General Hospital for numerous cuts to his arms, Joseph Scata of Vista, has been booked at the County Jail in connection with a variety of felony and misdemeanor charges.

About 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, Sheriff's Deputy W. Anderson got a radio call about a man vandalizing businesses near the 500 block of Santa Fe Avenue, Phelps said.

When Anderson arrived, he saw a man carrying a pipe.

The man allegedly started to rush the deputy but at the last minute turned and ran away, Phelps said. The deputy chased the man for a few blocks before catching him.

During his rampage, the man apparently sustained severe cuts to his arms and was bleeding heavily.

"The guy had lots of blood on him from when he was breaking all those windows," Phelps said. "(The deputy) was having a hard time keeping a grip on him."

A couple of other deputies eventually responded to the scene and they were able to handcuff the man.

He was booked on assault with a deadly weapon on an officer, second-degree burglary, possession of a dangerous weapon, felony vandalism and 12 counts of misdemeanor vandalism, a jail spokeswoman said Wednesday.

A Sept. 27 arraignment has been scheduled for Scata, who is being held on $17,040 bail.

Phelps didn't know if anything had been stolen from the businesses that were vandalized, but he said Scata is facing a burglary charge because he allegedly entered one of the business and caused thousands of dollars in damage to computer equipment.

All six front windows at J. B. Maintenance were shattered along with a computer monitor and keyboard that were ruined, said Heidi Mueller, a clerk at the company in the 100 block of Santa Fe.

The monitor of another computer was dented but not broken.

It will cost more than $6,000 to replace the windows and computer, said the company's owner Ali Soltan.

Vista Superior Court records show that Scata was sentenced to four years' probation in 1983 after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine and marijuana, a court clerk said.

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