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Restaurant melee brings arrest

Man refused to pay for dinner he claimed was too rare, police say.

May 23, 2013|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
  • Joseph Lee was arrested Saturday on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and refusing to pay for a dinner he consumed.
Joseph Lee was arrested Saturday on suspicion of assault… (Courtesy of the…)

A restaurant patron was arrested Saturday after he allegedly refused to pay for his $46 squid and steak dinner that he claimed was "too rare," and then assaulted workers who tried to stop him from fleeing, police said.

Joseph Lee was taken into custody about 8:52 p.m. on suspicion of assault and refusing to pay for his dinner at Zono Sushi in Glendale, according to Glendale police.

Most of the incident was recorded on the server's cell phone, police added.

Before Lee was released Sunday on $60,000 bail, he reportedly told police he was a first-time customer at the restaurant in the 100 block of North Maryland and was dissatisfied with his meal.

After eating most of it, Lee allegedly tried to leave without settling his bill, setting off a chain of events that started with a female server getting an elbow to her stomach.

Outside, the restaurant's owner and another employee told police they were nearly run over by Lee as he tried to flee in his Volkswagen. One of them even had to hold on to the roof and driver's-side door to keep from being swept out as he reversed, according to police.

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Lee eventually accelerated forward and fled the scene, police said. After he was tracked down and arrested, he reportedly told officers he fled because he felt uncomfortable with the restaurant owner and employee standing near his car, police said.

The restaurant owner and employees declined medical treatment.

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Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

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