SANTA CRUZ — A judge on Monday threw out a felony vandalism charge against a man recently arrested for throwing rocks through the window of a Soquel Avenue business.
Zakari Micah Adams, 22, was arrested June 8 at his home in Arnold, sheriff’s deputies reported.
Adams had recently moved to the Calaveras County town from Aptos.
Investigators said he was “caught on tape” throwing two river rocks through a large front window of a Santa Cruz business early on May 15, causing $1,000 in damage. Two unidentified men were with him, deputies said.
The business had been damaged by rocks twice before and owners had recently installed a video surveillance system.
But after the video was shown in court during a preliminary hearing, Judge Paul Marigonda ruled it was not enough to hold Adams pending trial, said Adams’ attorney, public defender Diana August.
“Basically, it wasn’t him; the guy in the video is much shorter, thinner and younger,” August said. “The judge said it looks a little bit like the guy, but it’s not him, and that’s all they have.”
Sheriff’s Sgt. Frank Gombos said detectives have done more work on the case and have found another witness.
“I believe the DA’s office will re-file it,” he said. “He certainly is the one on the video.”
Prosecutor Nicole Jones declined to comment on any next step.
“We put on all the evidence, including the video footage of the crime occurring,” she said. “The court viewed
the video and said it was too grainy to make an ID, even though two people who knew the defendant identified him as the person in the video.”
The incident was one of more than 120 window-breaking vandalism cases reported in the county this year, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Windows on homes, businesses and vehicles from Watsonville to Felton have been shattered by river rocks, with no apparent pattern or clear motive.
In recent weeks, some of the incidents escalated to burglaries as vandals reached through broken windows to steal items from inside homes or businesses, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The latest incident was about 10 days ago, Gombos said, and detectives are continuing to work the case.
The Sheriff’s Office and a business owner are offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandal or vandals.
August said her client is not the infamous “Aptos rock thrower.””He didn’t throw rocks at any business,” she said. “All this shows is that anyone can be arrested.”