There’s silly fast-food crime news, then there’s this: In yet another heaping swirl of bad press for Pinkberry, the co-founder of the once-ubiquitous frozen yogurt empire was arrested at LAX last night on a warrant for allegedly assaulting a homeless man last June. According to the L.A. Times, Young Lee, who founded Pinkberry in 2005 with partner Shelly Hwang, was driving in Downtown L.A. last summer with a companion when a homeless man approached his vehicle at a red light, asking for money. Somehow this routine slice of city life led to a confrontation, and ended with Lee and his pal chasing the man down and beating him with a tire iron.
Lee, a former kickboxer, has reportedly been the subject of an LAPD detective and FBI probe in the six months since the crime, some of which he spent in South Korea. But last night, the 47-year-old was apprehended at LAX by the airport’s Fugitive Task Force and booked with a $60,000 bail.
As for the fro-yo chain, the powers-that-be have yet to release any response to the arrest, and we’re unsure whether the members of Pinkberry’s “groupie” stable will find themselves with an even more bitter taste in their mouth when eating here, now that one of its principals stews in hot water. A call to Pinkberry headquarters finds that its media relations contact happens to be unavailable this morning, and her voice mail is not-so-surprisingly full.