Knife-wielding man tried to set pizzeria worker on fire in Thousand Oaks, authorities say

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A man was arrested after chasing a pizzeria worker with a knife while dousing him with lighter fluid and trying to light him on fire in Thousand Oaks, authorities said.

Robert Wright Haight, 61, of Palo Alto was arrested Sunday on suspicion of attempted murder, use of a deadly weapon and assault with caustic chemicals.

Deputies responded shortly after 2 p.m. to the 400 block of East Avenida De Los Arboles on a report of a knife-wielding man throwing lighter fluid at an employee inside a restaurant, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.


KABC-TV Channel 7 identified the restaurant as Allegro Pizza. The restaurant owner could not be reached for comment.

Deputies determined that Haight had entered the restaurant and squirted lighter fluid on an employee, then tried to set him on fire. Haight grabbed a large kitchen knife and chased the worker, who fled through the rear door, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

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Video from security cameras inside the pizzeria shows the man walking into the kitchen area with a small dog on a leash, moving toward the worker. He is holding a large knife in his right hand and what appears to be a lighter fluid bottle in the other.

After the employee fled, Haight followed him to the rear parking lot where he confronted a second man who was trying to intervene, the Sheriff’s Office said. Haight squirted lighter fluid on the man and also tried to set him on fire before deputies arrived and took him into custody, authorities said.

Haight was injured during the assault and was taken to a hospital, where he remains until he can be formally charged and arraigned in court.