Man charged in alleged attempt to drug date at Santa Monica restaurant
A Los Angeles man was charged Tuesday after he was seen apparently drugging his date’s drink at a restaurant, prosecutors said.
Michael Hsu, 24, faces one felony count each of administering a drug and assault with the intent to commit a sex crime, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
If Hsu is convicted of the charges, he faces up to six years in prison, prosecutors said.
Hsu was arrested Thursday at Fig restaurant, according to Santa Monica Police Lt. Saul Rodriguez. Hsu remains in custody on $1-million bail.
Three women were credited with alerting the woman before she could take a drink, and with notifying restaurant staff.
Sonia Ulrich, Marla Saltzer and Monica Kenyon were dining in the Wilshire Boulevard restaurant about 6:15 p.m. when Kenyon said she spotted a man dropping a substance into his date’s drink while she was in the restroom.
Ulrich described the incident on Facebook.
“He pulled her glass toward him, kind of awkwardly, then he took out a little black vial,” she wrote. “He opened it up and dropped something in. Then he tried to play it cool, like checking his phone and hiding the vial in his hand and then trying to bring it back down slyly.”
After pondering what their next steps should be, Ulrich went looking for Hsu’s date, she wrote.
“After a few ‘Oh god. What do we do’s,’ I got up to find her in the bathroom to tell her. Warn her. Tell her to get up and leave this creep. Make him drink it. Something,” she wrote.
Ulrich told the woman, who was shocked and described Hsu as one of her best friends.
Hsu and his date worked together and had known each other for about a year and a half, Ulrich said.
Meanwhile, Kenyon notified a server about the drink.
Hsu’s date had to “play it cool” for 40 minutes until police arrived and arrested him, she said.
“The staff wanted to jump in and dump the glass, dump him, do something,” Ulrich wrote. “I was going through fantasies of walking up and demanding he drink the tainted glass of wine.”
Security workers later told the women surveillance video had filmed Hsu dropping the substance into the drink, Ulrich said.
Police took the drink and other items as evidence, Rodriguez said. They also searched Hsu’s home.
Police are now looking for witnesses and additional victims, he said.
Anyone who has details about Hsu or is a victim is urged to contact Det. Nicole Sierra at (310) 458-8941, Sgt. Sal Lucio at (310) 458-8760 or the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8495.
For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.
1:05 p.m.: This article was updated with prosecutors filing charges against Michael Hsu.
This article was posted at 6:54 a.m.
Get breaking news, investigations, analysis and more signature journalism from the Los Angeles Times in your inbox.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.