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Indictment: Man tried to have Las Vegas race car driver killed

A 42-year-old man indicted on a solicitation to commit murder charge is accused of attempting to hire a fellow inmate at the Clark County Detention Center to kidnap and kill a local race car driver.

A former inmate told a grand jury that Arutyun Akopikyan tried to hire him to kill Jeffrey Schildmeyer, a local race car driver who had previously testified that Akopikyan took $210 from him at gunpoint, according to an indictment handed up last week.

In January, Akopikyan went to visit Schildmeyer at his shop near the Las Vegas Speedway in the northeast valley. The two had known each other for about four years, and Akopikyan was at the shop to ask Schildmeyer for $23,000, Schildmeyer testified during a preliminary hearing in March, according to court transcripts.

When Schildmeyer didn’t give Akopikyan the money, he threatened to kill Schildmeyer and burn the building down, according to the transcripts. Schildmeyer testified that Akopikyan then pointed a gun at him and took $210 from his wallet.

Akopikyan was charged with felony counts of burglary of a business with a firearm, robbery with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery. He was arrested and booked into the Clark County Detention Center on April 7, jail records show.

Antonio Williams testified to a grand jury that he met Akopikyan in a holding cell at the jail in April. Williams said Akopikyan came to him “with the proposition of getting some millions” if he kidnapped Schildmeyer, accessed his bank accounts from his phone and then killed him.

“He wanted Jeff killed, that was the whole thing, to kill him, but the only way we can get the money was to kidnap him and get his phone,” Williams testified, according to the transcripts.

Akopikyan told Williams that they could take about $5 million from Schildmeyer and split it between the two of them and an unnamed third party, Williams testified.

The two kept communicating after both were released from jail, but Williams testified that he began to second guess the plan.

“At that point I began to think about the situation and seeing that it was like he was trying to set me up,” Williams testified.

Williams said he called the race car driver to warn him that Akopikyan wanted him dead. Schildmeyer testified that after he heard from Williams, he reached out to a Metropolitan Police Department detective working on the armed robbery case.

Akopikyan’s attorney, Michael Troiano, declined to comment on the case. Schildmeyer also declined to comment when reached by phone on Monday.

His shop in the northeast valley builds and services race cars, Schildmeyer testified. He has also raced in local events, including November’s Duel in the Desert race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s dirt track, according to the event’s website.

Akopikyan is scheduled to appear in court on the solicitation to commit murder charge on Wednesday. A jury trial in the burglary case is scheduled for January.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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