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Angry man spends $200 at sushi restaurant, leaves 13-foot python instead of tip

Hiroshi Motohashi was angry with the management of the Studio City sushi restaurant, so police said he decided to leave something for other customers to remember him by.

Instead of "dropping the mic" after a memorable rant, officials say the 46-year-old man dropped a 13-foot-long snake in the middle of the restaurant — then slithered out.

Motohashi later was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats, said Lt. Jim Gavin of the Los Angeles Police Department in Van Nuys.

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The cold-blooded act unfolded about 7:20 p.m. Sunday when Motohashi entered Iroha Sushi of Tokyo in the 12900 block of Ventura Boulevard and showed off a small snake to customers sitting down for dinner.

Restaurant managers confronted Motohashi and asked him to leave, Gavin said.

Motohashi left, but returned minutes later to the restaurant with an even bigger snake: a 13-foot-long python.

The snake owner said, “[Expletive], you guys,” then dropped the larger snake in the middle of the restaurant floor and walked out, the lieutenant said.

There was no confusing the yellow python slithering on the restaurant floor with a supersized caterpillar roll.

Employees told KCBS-TV that Motohashi had paid for a $200 meal before showing off the smaller snake to customers. The customers did not like that. They liked the giant snake even less. Some terrified customers even ran out of the restaurant, the station reported.

“Get this thing out! You know, everyone’s like eating, so customers are yelling, ‘Get this thing out! Are you crazy,’ ” waitress Jessie Davaadorj told KCBS-TV.

The Los Angeles Fire Department and Los Angeles Animal Services went to the restaurant and captured the snake, which apparently had gotten stuck near a cash register. Animal control officers took the snake away, Gavin said.

Animal Services is caring for both snakes at its East Valley facility in Van Nuys. Motohashi must show proof of ownership, including the proper permits, to get his snakes back, Cmdr. Mark Salazar of the Animal Services Department said.

This isn’t Motohashi’s first run-in with the law over his love of exotic pets. He was convicted in 2005 in federal court of selling endangered animals and venomous lizards.

He was sentenced to 15 months for selling Gila monster lizards without a permit. Along with the venomous lizards, he sold yellow-spotted sideneck turtles and San Esteban Island chuckwallas to an undercover officer in 1997, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Motohashi was one of a dozen people arrested by the agent, who posed as the owner of a business that was buying and selling exotic animals in Reno.

Years later, Motohashi’s San Diego-based pet shop, A Glass Jungle, was featured in a 2011 article in San Diego Uptown News. He was photographed with a 15-foot-long albino tiger python named Cleopatra.

“I love to educate people about the animals and let them see things they wouldn’t normally see…and I want people to see how they could take care of these animals responsibly,” he told the paper. 

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UPDATES

7:53 a.m." Updated with more information about Motohashi.

1:42 p.m.: This article was updated with new information about Hiroshi Motohashi's criminal record.

This article was originally published at 11:55 a.m.

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