Cab driver injured in armed robbery
A cab driver with Checker Cab was attacked and injured with a box cutter knife as two people, one adult and one juvenile, attempted to rob him of cash on Saturday morning around 5 a.m.
Police arrested the adult, Cody Kobuk, 18, on Sunday. The juvenile was arrested on Saturday, shortly after the robbery.
Checker Cab driver Dan McDaniel was medivaced to a hospital in Anchorage and, as of Tuesday morning, was released from the hospital and bound to fly back to Nome on Tuesday night.
A third juvenile was misidentified as having been part of the robbery, was arrested and was held in juvenile detention but then released to a parent.
According to court documents, defendant Cody Kobuk admitted to have planned the robbery with his 15-year-old male accomplice last month.
They met between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Saturday, March 31 and called Checker cab. According to a police affidavit, the juvenile handed Kobuk a box cutter. “Once in the cab, the defendant stated he positioned himself behind the driver holding his head against the seat rest and placed the knife to his neck,” the affidavit reads.
The juvenile brandished a handgun and demanded that the cab driver, Dan McDaniel, hand over the money. While held back, the cab driver stepped on the gas and drove into a snowbank. A struggle ensued and McDaniel at one point honked the horn with his foot, as he was pulled back, according to the cab’s owner. The affidavit says that once the vehicle impacted the snowbank, “Dan was thrown forward which resulted in him (Dan) being stabbed in the neck with the blade of the utility knife.”
Kobuk then left the car and ran away.
While bleeding, McDaniel got out of the cab and pursued the juvenile, who also fled on foot, to his home. A NPD press release issued on Tuesday, April 3, says “The victim confronted one suspect and followed him to his residence. Enroute the suspect pointed what appeared to be a handgun at the victim, to keep the driver from approaching him.”
McDaniel initially declined any medical treatment, but then went to the hospital for examination. “It was determined that the wound was more serious than initially assessed as the depth came very close to the carotid artery and may have perforated the victims’ trachea,” the release reads.
According to the cab’s owner RJ Jones, McDaniel called the police and then Jones to report the incident as McDaniel pursued the juvenile on foot. McDaniel then ran back to the cab and drove to pick up Jones. They returned to the juvenile’s home and found there the one police officer on duty that night, Officer Gray Harrison. Harrison arrested the juvenile and tried to learn the name of his accomplice. According to NPD Chief Papasodora, the juvenile gave a wrong name to police, which resulted in the arrest of another juvenile. The police release said, “He identified the second juvenile assailant by name. Both were arrested and lodged at the Nome Youth Facility; charged with robbery and felony assault”.
“Subsequent investigation revealed that the second juvenile suspect was not directly involved and had been misnamed,” said Papasodora. As the case became known to the public, the NPD press release says, additional information was received from the public indicating another party may have been involved.
NPD Sergeant Dickerson took over investigation the next day and identified Cody Kobuk, who was arrested on Sunday on charges of robbery and assault, according to Chief Papasodora. Papasodora said the majority of the investigation is completed. The box cutter knife has been found, but the handgun has not been located. Papasodora said indications are that it is not a firearm, but a pellet handgun.
Police said the Division of Juvenile Justice was informed that the second juvenile arrested did not commit the crime as reported by his purported juvenile accomplice. “The second juvenile was released to his parent and investigation is continuing to determine why the juvenile was implicated in the crime,” reads the press release. “Additional charges of Making a False Report [by implicating another in a crime] will be included in the charges filed against the juvenile who remains in custody.”
“All this for 60 dollars,” said RJ Jones, the cab company’s owner. According to Jones, one of the robbers took the money from the cupholder on the console in the cab. McDaniel suffered a severe laceration to his neck, near his windpipe. According to Jones, no surgery was necessary, but it was a close call. “The doctor said anything deeper or off to the side would’ve caused his death,” said Jones.
Jones reported that the same group of suspects have caused problems in the past. In the fall time, Jones said, they have thrown rocks at his cabs, busting the windows while passengers were in the cab. Jones said he had offered a reward to find the culprits and they came forward with information and turned each other in for the money. He said they were not held accountable to their deeds, although information was shared with the police.
Kobuk was charged with one count of robbery in the first degree and one count of assault in the first degree. He is held at AMCC and had his felony first appearance in court on April 2. Bail was set at $100,000 and his next court appearance is scheduled for April 10.
The juvenile is held at the Nome Youth Facility. Juvenile proceedings are confidential and not open to the public.