SoCal Teacher Arrested on Suspicion of Kidnapping 3 Students

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A high school teacher accused of pulling a knife on three students in Altadena and ordering them to drive to a fast-food restaurant was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping on Sunday, authorities said.

John Edward Maust, 34, walked into the Altadena Sheriff’s Station and surrendered without incident at about 1:30 p.m., according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

John Edward Maust, 34, is shown here in a teacher photo on Arroyo Pacific Academy’s website; he was arrested June 8, 2014 after allegedly kidnapping three students.

The incident began on Saturday night shortly after 9:30 p.m. when the three 17-year-olds recognized Maust — a teacher at Arroyo Pacific Academy in Arcadia — standing on the sidewalk while they were driving in the area of Ganesha Avenue and East Mariposa Street (map) and went to say “hi” to him, according to the release.

Maust, who appeared to have been intoxicated, asked them for a ride, the release stated.

At some point during the ride, however, a conversation with the teacher caused the driver to become worried, prompting the teen to pull the vehicle over.  The students then got out, but Maust — who told them he wanted to go to the Jack in the Box — ordered them back in, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Fearing for their safety, the teens went back into the vehicle. At that point, Maust allegedly “pulled out a knife on them,” the release said.

One of the teens managed to call 911. A short time later, a sheriff’s helicopter was overhead and ordered the driver to stop the vehicle. Maust then fled the vehicle on foot.

He was arrested the next day on suspicion of kidnapping, false imprisonment and criminal threats after turning himself in, according to the release.

Maust was booked at Crescenta Valley Station and was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, according to county inmate records.

He was also placed on leave at Arroyo Pacific Academy, where he taught social studies for at least 10 years, the school’s president Philip Clarke announced on Monday.

KTLA’s Jennifer Gould contributed to this report.

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