Pinkberry Founder Young Lee Arrested on Assault

PHOTO: Pinkberry founder Young Lee

The co-founder of Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt, Young Lee, was arrested today at Los Angeles airport on a warrant for beating a homeless beggar LA last June.

Lee, who helped design the healthy, low-calorie dessert chain, is accused of chasing down a homeless man who approached his car in downtown Los Angeles asking for money on June 15, 2011. Lee and another individual beat the homeless man with a tire iron, according to police. The man was hospitalized for treatment.

Witnesses reported the incident to police, including the license plate of the vehicle, a Range Rover, which was rented in Lee's name. Police seized the tire iron from the vehicle, police said. Witnesses also helped police identify Lee from a photo display, allowing police to obtain a warrant for his arrest.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, a federal database alerted LAPD detectives that Lee was aboard an inbound flight from Korea to Los Angeles Airport on Monday. The department's Fugitive Warrants Task Force arrested the Pinkberry founder at the airport. Bail was set at $60,000 and he remains in custody, police said.

"This case is emblematic of how the homeless are among the most vulnerable in our society," Lt. Paul Vernon said in a statement. "Despite the challenges in the case, the detectives never gave up and eventually found the victim after leads took them to Skidrow and the local jail."

According to a 2006 profile of Pinkberry by the Los Angeles Times, Lee, a native of Korea, was a former kick boxer and bouncer who became an architect responsible for the chain's bright colored walls and sleek furniture. He founded the chain with Hyekyung "Shelly" Hwang, also of Korea, in 2005 in Los Angeles. It has since become a worldwide chain.

Lee is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 6. He was perviously convicted of felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor carrying a loaded firearm in 2001, and now faces up to seven years in state prison if convicted of assault.

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