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Kiyokawa Sushi Chef Arrested: Mistaken Identity, Not Fugu Crimes

Satoshi Kiyokawa at his restaurant Kiyokawa

Anne FishbeinSatoshi Kiyokawa at his restaurant Kiyokawa

Last week the Beverly Hills Police Department confirmed the arrest on December 30th of Satoshi Kiyokawa on a fugitive from justice warrant. Kiyokawa, you may remember, is the chef-owner of Kiyokawa Restaurant, a sushi restaurant in Beverly Hills, and the subject of a recent downright glowing Jonathan Gold Counter Intelligence. Blow fish crimes? (Blow fish, or fugu, contain poison and can only be prepared by licensed sushi chefs.) Well, no.

We called up the restaurant and talked to the chef, who told us the story, which his lawyer confirmed. Apparantly, Mr. Kiyokawa had been vacationing in Las Vegas when his car's license plates were stolen. Shortly thereafter, armed gunmen driving a car (the same model and year as Kiyokawa's car) with Kiyokawa's plates robbed three fast food restaurants, including a Jack in the Box.

"I came back to Beverly Hills, and they [the police] showed up at my restaurant," said Kiyokawa, who spent three days in jail and a fourth in court, according to his lawyer Mark Gottesman, before being released on a minimum bail pending resolution of the case. "I have an alibi, because I was in the casinos," said Kiyokawa, who was back slicing toro a week after his arrest. "They have a lot of cameras." Gottesman ("if there was ever a case of mistaken identity, it was this one") gives credit to the L.A. District Attorney's office for taking a look at the case, and says that Kiyokawa's lack of U.S. citizenship (he has a green card) was never an issue. Kiyokawa, who cooked to a restaurant packed with visiting Bama fans all weekend, says he counts himself lucky. "I keep very busy." Cooking, that is, not gambling, or at least not anymore. And probably not holding up desert hamburger drive-thrus.