Threat

Casper man pleads guilty to threatening Verizon employees

2012-09-25T18:30:00Z 2012-11-20T19:03:22Z Casper man pleads guilty to threatening Verizon employeesBy MEGAN CASSIDY Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online
September 25, 2012 6:30 pm  • 

The man accused of threatening Verizon employees over a customer service dispute pleaded guilty on Tuesday.

Attorneys outlined a plea agreement at Robbey Lee Swank's arraignment in Natrona County District Court. Penitentiary time is off the table, and the rest of the sentence is left to the court's discretion.

According to his arresting affidavit, Swank became enraged after learning Verizon had applied part of his deposit to a late payment. He told a customer service representative over the phone that he was “loading his pistol and going down to the store.”

When Swank arrived at the Eastridge Mall branch, witnesses say he began yelling obscenities and said if he had a gun, he would use it. After eventually heeding a manager’s requests to leave, the store was closed for a portion of that day.

Talking to officials at his home, Swank later admitted to police that he told employees they were lucky they didn’t see him on the street and that he didn’t have his gun.

In court, Swank admitted he caused the branch to close down temporarily and threatened over the phone to use a firearm on employees. He denied threatening to use the gun while he was inside the store.

Defense attorney Traci Lacock requested Swank’s bond be reduced from $25,000 to $2,500, given that he has family in town, and what he pleaded to was a “low-level felony.”

Lacock also spoke of Swank’s minimal criminal history and stressed that it was important for his worker’s compensation that he keep his doctor's appointments.

Natrona County Assistant District Attorney Mike Shafer opposed the defense’s request, arguing that Swank had been banned from three different Casper locations, at least two of which were businesses.

Shafer said these instances prove that Swank “can’t control his temper,” and said that Swank would have “a lot of time on his hands,” given his current medical leave.

“By virtue of this charge alone, he is a risk to the community,” he said.

Sullins agreed with the state and maintained the current bond obligation, calling it “very reasonable and appropriate.”

If Swank had been tried for terroristic threats in court, he could have faced up to three years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Swank will be sentenced at a later date.

Reach crime reporter Megan Cassidy at 307-266-0534 or megan.cassidy@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter @meganrcassidy.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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