A San Diego man is at the center of a bizarre case out of Los Angeles where witnesses say he got angry and left a 13-foot python at a sushi restaurant.
Hiroshi Motohashi, 46, was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats after restaurant employees say he finished paying about $200 for dinner. The dispute started when he brought out two small snakes and a manager told him to leave because pets are not permitted in the business. Motohashi became angry, left and returned with the large python, witnesses said.
“Customers were yelling at him to take it out,” said employee Jessie Davadorj.
NBC 7 has learned Motohashi owned a reptile store in Hillcrest called A Glass Jungle. It is now closed, but previous customers said he would sometimes stand on University Avenue with a large snake on his shoulders to attract customers.
Motohashi also has a criminal past that involves endangered animals. The Department of Justice confirmed that in 2005 he was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for illegally selling endangered species. In 1997, he illegally sold Gila monsters and yellow-spotted sideneck turtles to an undercover agent.
NBC 7 was unable to get a comment from Motohasi Thursday.
An LAPD source said he had bailed out of jail.
His next court appearance is on April 5.