Tetsuji Miwa: Sushi Chef With Knife Skills Foils Armed Restaraunt Robbery

Tetsuji Miwa, the sushi chef for the Kamakura Japanese restaurant in Illinois, put his knife skills to a different use than slicing up raw fish, when he foiled an attempted armed robbery at the restaurant Tuesday.

According to police, 23-year-old Clayton Dial entered the restaurant Tuesday night, approached the 17-year-old hostess, and demanded that she hand over all the money in the cash register. Tetsuji Miwa, just a few yards away, did not see the gun, but he did hear the exchange, and saw the look of fear on the young hostess’s face.

“That’s when I instantly grabbed my sushi knife, walked up to him, wrapped my arm around his shoulder and asked him what he wanted,” Miwa told the News-Gazette.

At that point, Dial decided the money wasn’t worth the risk.

“He saw the blade, got scared and started running.”

By then, waitress Aichan Mitsuhashi-Acs had alerted other employees of what had happened, and general manager Yuji Niizuma and assistant manager Joe Pendzialek came running from the kitchen while the waitress dialed 911.

Dial didn’t get far in his escape from the sushi restaurant, either. Miwa ran after him, still holding his sushi knife, along with the two managers. He was caught out in the parking lot, and a scuffle broke out. One of the employees grabbed a small stool from the front door of the restaurant and hit Dial over the head with it as they tried to get him to release his weapon. Niizuma said that while Pendzialek had Dial in a choke-hold, he punched Dial’s arm until Dial let go of the gun.

Fortunately for Dial, Miwa did not use his sushi knife — but not for the reasons you may think.

“It’s pretty expensive so I didn’t want to damage it or use it. I was telling him, ‘Don’t make me use this.’ As soon as the other two managers came out, I set it down to the ground very carefully because I didn’t want to damage my blade,” said Miwa of his sushi knife.

The gun that the three employees finally forced the would-be robber to release turned out to be a pellet gun.

The three were able to keep Dial subdued until police arrived. He was arrested, along with his girlfriend, who was driving away as the fracas occurred. Police stopped her not far from the restaurant, and took her into custody for an unrelated outstanding warrant. State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said Dial told police he has a drug problem, and admitted to needing money in order to pay off a debt.

One of the witnesses to the ordeal was a circuit court judge, who had pulled into the parking lot to pick up an order of sushi to take home with him.

“I told the poor guy, ‘This is a traumatic experience. Forget my order,'” Judge Arnold Blockman told the newspaper.

He added that the hostess inside appeared traumatized, simply sitting there with the money still in hand. She was later treated by paramedics for hyperventilation. But the employees insisted on taking care of the judge as well as the other diners who were there.

Still, the judge added wryly, “That’ll teach me to go out for sushi.”

Hopefully, it’s a lesson that Clayton Dial learned, as well.

Miwa, who admittedly did not see the gun, and the other employees are fortunate that the outcome resulted in an arrest and no injuries, but sometimes simply ignoring the problem seems to be the best bet. Watch this fedora-wearing gunman fail at his own robbery attempt because no one took him seriously here.

[Image via ctbites.com]

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