The restaurant owner of a Florida Hibachi Express decided to do a taste test of the restaurant’s cooking sauce during a routine inspection, which likely ended up saving lives after a disgruntled cook poured a poisonous drain cleaner into a 55-gallon tub of sauce. The cook learned on Tuesday during a Polk County court hearing that he’ll now spend seven years behind bars.
The Ledger reports that Margarito Padilla, 54, laced Yum Yum Sauce, a sauce served daily with customers’ meals, with Pure Lye, a poisonous plumber’s lye. The incident happened last June at the Hibachi Express in North Lakeland. Padilla has been behind bars since. Circuit Judge Kevin Abdoney took into account the eight months spent in jail prior to handing down the 7-year sentence.
Restaurant owner, Zhong Kun Jiang, noticed that the sauce looked funny during a routine check of the restaurant on the day of the incident. He decided to take a taste test, which left his mouth in excruciating pain. Ziang then questioned the employees, and Padilla, although he didn’t initially admit to what he did, begged the owner not to call the police.
Ziang became suspicious and pulled surveillance footage from he restaurant, which showed Padilla near the sauce area with something bulging out of his pocket. Padilla knelt down by the sauce, but when he stood up, the bulge was gone.
Padilla later confessed to authorities when confronted with the evidence. He claimed that he was upset over “unfair working conditions.”
After serving his prison sentence, Padilla must serve at least eight months of probation.
[Feature Photo: Margarito Padilla/Police Handout]