Father arrested after arguments with son, son’s friends

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Golden Valley Road.
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Golden Valley Road.

A Castaic father is in custody on charges that he pepper-sprayed his son’s friends, stole a backpack from them and then tried to stab his son following a pair of arguments he had with the alleged victims at his ex-wife’s house. 

Mark Zarakowski, 48, who is reportedly a transient, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in the San Fernando Courthouse to a pair of felony assault charges; two charges that he used “tear gas” as a weapon; and a grand theft charge.  

Zarakowski got into a verbal argument with several of his son’s friends on Sept. 20, according to court reports obtained by The Signal. Following the altercation, Zarakowski is suspected of having taken a backpack from them that had an iPhone and money inside — reportedly a loss of more than $950 — before leaving the residence. 

He returned to the residence Nov. 4, and proceeded to get into another argument, according to court documents. During the second incident, the father is believed to have brandished a knife at his son before leaving the scene of the alleged assault. 

Station detectives ultimately tracked down the suspect last month. He was arrested at 1:30 a.m. Dec. 2, according to L.A. County Sheriff’s Department records available online.  

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station officials were not immediately available Friday to confirm the location of the arrest. 

Zarakowski is now being held at Pitchess Detention Center in lieu of $175,000 bail. He’s due back in court at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 9 for a pretrial hearing. 

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