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Man flashes knife in dispute at Safeway

He faces terroristic threatening charge

WAILUKU — A felony threatening charge was upheld against a man who allegedly pointed a knife at a security guard at the closed Safeway store in Kahului last week, less than a week after he was released from jail for assault.

Mark Yanruw, 37, who gave no local address, had a black folding knife in his right front pocket when he was stopped in the parking lot outside the store at 12:25 p.m. Aug. 15, said police officer Ervin Anduha.

He and security guard Timothy White testified Wednesday at a preliminary hearing for Yanruw in Wailuku District Court.

White, a security guard for KT Protection Services, said he was inside the front entrance and guarding the store at 170 E. Kamehameha Ave. when Yanruw took a rag from the hood of White’s truck parked outside and walked away with it. White said he went outside and told Yanruw to bring back the rag, which he did.

About a half-hour later, White said Yanruw returned, kicked over a water bucket and again grabbed the rag and went down the sidewalk. White said he yelled at Yanruw to bring back the rag.

“He turned around and pointed a knife at me,” White said.

He said Yanruw was about 25 feet away as he held the knife, which had a 5- to 6-inch blade.

“It was definitely threatening,” he said.

White went in the store, locked the door and called police.

While Yanruw didn’t say anything, his actions conveyed to White that “you’re not getting your rag back, and I’m going to harm you with this knife if you try anything,” said Deputy Prosecutor Joshua Kent.

Deputy Public Defender Tyler Stevenson argued that “there’s no indication this was a true threat.”

In finding probable cause to support the first-degree terroristic threatening charge, Judge Michelle Drewyer said Yanruw was described as having one foot in front of the other in what’s known as a fighting stance and thrust the knife. She noted that Yanruw was closer to the front door of the store, where the security guard was, when he was arrested.

At the request of the prosecution, Drewyer kept bail at $10,000 for Yanruw.

He was sentenced to five years in prison for two prior first-degree terroristic threatening convictions, Kent said. He said Yanruw’s criminal history also includes 22 convictions for contempt of court, as well as failure to appear, third-degree assault, first-degree criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct, fourth-degree theft and two counts of DUI.

Yanruw was released from jail Aug. 9 after serving a 90-day jail term for third-degree assault, Kent said.

“Almost immediately upon his release, he went ahead and reoffended in a very similar way to his prior convictions,” Kent said. “He is a danger to the community.”

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.