Knife-Wielding Sushi Chef Foils Restaurant Robbery

"He saw the blade, got scared and started running"

An alleged robbery in Illinois unraveled when a man authorities say was hoping to get away with some money from a sushi restaurant concluded that the pellet gun he was holding was no match for the chef's large, shiny and sharp knife.

On Thursday, Clayton Dial, 23, of Ogden, remained in the Champaign County Jail on charges of aggravated robbery, intimidation and aggravated battery two days after police say he tried to hold up the Kamakura Japanese restaurant in Champaign.

Police say a man walked in to the restaurant Tuesday night, pulled a gun out of his waistband and demanded the hostess hand over the money in the cash register, the (Champaign) News-Gazette reported.

Unfortunately for Dial, 39-year-old Tetsuji Miwa was just a few yards away and heard what the robber was saying. Miwa said he didn't see the gun, but he did see the look of fear on the face of the 17-year-old hostess.

"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 newspaper. "He saw the blade, got scared and started running."

Miwa ran after him along with two other employees, one of whom grabbed a small stool near the front door. Miwa said he did not want hurt the man and he sure didn't want to do anything that might damage his "pretty expensive knife." The three caught up with Dial and a scuffle broke out, during which Dial was punched and hit over the head with the stool as they tried to get him to release what they believed was a real gun.

Dial's girlfriend was also taken into custody after being arrested on an outstanding warrant as she started to drive a van away from the business.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said Dial told police he has a drug problem and needed the money to pay off a debt.

One of the customers who witnessed part of the incident was a circuit court judge — who, after everything, still had some sushi.

"I told the poor guy, 'This is a traumatic experience. Forget my order,'" Judge Arnold Blockman told the newspaper. "He said, 'No, we want to take care of you.'"

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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