Soldotna man arrested for allegedly threatening cabbie

A Soldotna man previously arrested for threatening hospital staff members with a knife and for entering and pulling the fire alarms in two central Kenai Peninsula elementary schools has been arrested again for threatening a taxi driver.

Soldotna Police Department officers arrested Robert Luton, 31, on Jan. 19, according to a police dispatch. Officers responded to a call from the Maverick Saloon on the Sterling Highway around 3:05 am. about a man allegedly threatening a cab driver and refusing to pay his cab fare, according to the dispatch.

After investigation, they arrested Luton and charged him with one court of assault in the fourth degree, one count of theft in the fourth degree and violation of his conditions of release. He was taken to Wildwood Correctional Complex’s Pretrial Facility and held on $1,000 bail, according to the dispatch.

He was arraigned on Jan. 20 and is currently scheduled for a pre-trial conference on Feb. 15, according to Courtview.

Luton was arrested in October 2017 after video footage showed him pulling the fire alarm at Sterling Elementary School when there was no fire, leading to an evacuation of the school, and then reentered the school when all the students did after the fire alarm was cleared. He was later linked to another incident of pulling the fire alarm at another school and charged with terroristic threatening and criminal mischief.

He pleaded guilty to one charge in each case of making a false report, a class A misdemeanor, after the state amended the charges.

At a hearing at the Kenai Courthouse on Oct. 29, the public defender representing him noted that he has a history of mental illness that contributed to his behavior. In 2016, Luton also pled guilty to two counts of assault in the fourth degree connected to repeatedly verbally threatening to kill two Central Peninsula Hospital staff members in 2015, according to Alaska court records.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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