LOS ANGELES—On Monday, January 16, Pinkberry co-founder Young Lee was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on an outstanding felony warrant for aggravated assault of a homeless man in 2011.
According to a Los Angeles Police Department news release, on the evening of June 15, 2011, a homeless man was begging at the off ramp of the 101 Freeway and Vermont Avenue in downtown L.A. when the 47-year-old Lee and a companion had words with the man. Witnesses say the two men began chasing the homeless man and beat him with a tire iron. The homeless man was later treated at a local hospital for a broken arm, according to reports.
Although detectives could not locate the victim for a while, they were able to obtain information from several witnesses, including the license plate of the attackers’ Range Rover. The vehicle was traced back to a car rental company registered under Lee’s name.
After a federal database alerted detectives that Lee was arriving into LAX on a flight from his native Korea, members of the LAPD’s Fugitive Warrants Task Force and the FBI sprang into action. They met Lee at the airport and arrested him. He was jailed at LAPD’s Pacific Division station in L.A. where his bail was set at $60,000. So far, Lee’s companion in the attack has not been identified.
In a statement responding to news of Lee’s arrest, Pinkberry claimed Lee was no longer with the company he founded in January 2005 with then-wife Shelly Hwang.
“Mr. Young Lee has no involvement with Pinkberry, our partners or our more than 170 stores world-wide. Pinkberry ended its ties with Mr. Lee formally on May 1, 2010. He has no influence or input into the company in any way, and the parties have not been in communication with one another since Mr. Lee’s exit. While it would be inappropriate for us to speculate on the allegations in question, we can say without hesitation that Pinkberry values the communities we serve and stands against acts of violence of any kind, especially those involving the most vulnerable among us.” They encouraged anyone with questions to contact them at email@example.com
The Fugitive Warrant Task Force follows up on most felony warrants that are issued in cases involving foreign nationals that are handled by detectives at neighborhood police stations. This system frees up detectives to work on other cases while the task force detectives look for the warrant suspect.
The LAPD encourage the public to submit tips about crime. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to (877) 527-3247. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “Webtips” and follow the instructions.