Webster Man Indicted on 14 Charges for Wind Tiki Restaurant Fire

 by TWIW StaffAugust 2, 2022

WEBSTER - A Webster man was indicted last week in connection with the fire that destroyed the Wind Tiki restaurant in Webster on March 18, according to Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.

Joel Batista-Viera, 42, was indicted by a Worcester County Grand Jury on July 29 on 14 charges including arson, five counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime to commit a felony, two counts of larceny from a building, four counts of breaking into a depository, and two counts of vandalizing property.

The indictments move the case to Worcester Superior Court. Batista is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 24.

Webster Police, Fire and EMS responded to a three-alarm fire at Wind Tiki restaurant located at 154 Thompson Rd. just before 2 AM on March 18.

At 7:30 AM, an employee at Mexicali Restaurant at 41 Worcester Road reported a break-in had occurred overnight. Damage to the surveillance system and evidence of an attempt to start a fire in the restaurant was discovered. The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services also joined Webster Police detectives in the investigation.

Despite damage to the surveillance system at Mexicali Restaurant, footage was able to be recovered.

While investigators were at Mexicali, a Webster Police patrol unit discovered evidence of an attempted break-in at Lake Pizza at 39 Thompson Rd. during the overnight hours. The business was not accessed and surveillance footage was recovered by detectives.

Detectives in Webster were able to collect footage from surveillance systems from several sources in the area of Thompson Road and identified Batista-Viera in a video from the Mobil at 144 Thompson Road as the same person in footage from Mexicali and Lake Pizza.

Police released the photo of Batista-Viera to the public and made several attempts to locate him. Batista-Viera arrived at the Webster Police Department on the morning of Monday, March 28.

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