For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott J. Croteau 508-368-7228 or 774-418-5706
WEBSTER – A Webster man was indicted on 14 charges, including arson, in connection with the fire that destroyed the Wind Tiki restaurant in March 2022, according to Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.
Joel Batista-Viera, 42, was indicted by a Worcester County Grand Jury on Friday. The 14 charges include 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.
On March 18, 2022, Webster Police, Fire and EMS responded to the Wind Tiki restaurant located at 154 Thompson Road just before 2 a.m. for a fire alarm that had been activated.
A three-alarm fire broke out at the scene. Firefighters from Webster and area communities battled the blaze for hours. The restaurant was destroyed by the fire.
Webster Police Department Detectives, State Police Detectives assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigators learned another restaurant had been broken into on Worcester Road. It appeared someone tried to start a fire inside the Mexicali Mexican Grill.
Investigators also learned about an attempted break-in at Lake Pizza on Thompson Road.
Authorities collected surveillance video from the area. As a result of the investigation, Batista-Viera was arrested and then arraigned in Dudley District Court on March 29.
The indictments move the case to Worcester Superior Court. Batista-Viera is scheduled for arraignment on Aug. 24.