San Gabriel mayor arrested for purse-snatching

SAN GABRIEL, Calif. It's a strange story, including an argument at a restaurant, an alleged purse-snatching, and a wild ride with a woman hanging onto the side of the mayor's SUV.

Albert Huang, 35, is the mayor of San Gabriel. He was arrested at about 1:30 a.m. Friday. Huang is accused of snatching a woman's purse in the parking lot of a strip mall on the 300 block of West Valley Blvd. in San Gabriel, taking off in his SUV with the woman clinging to the side of his vehicle.

In a statement, Huang said, "As a public official and a former Boy Scout, I hold myself to the highest standard of conduct. On last night's incident, it was a great misunderstanding between friends. As a result I am confident I will restore my reputation and prove my innocence in court."

He was released on $100,000 bail late Friday morning.

"I know the mayor personally," said San Gabriel resident Scott Bowles. "I have had dealings with him in the past. I think he's a good guy. I don't know what went on with what happened last night, the allegations. I feel bad for him and his family. Albert, to me, has always been good as a mayor.

The mayor is married with one child.

He reportedly got into an argument with a 33-year-old woman -- no word on whether it was his wife -- in a restaurant at the strip mall where the two dined.

Al Lee owns the restaurant and witnessed the incident. Lee said it got so heated, the woman hit the mayor in the face with a plate of dumplings.

"I guess he said something really bad about the dumplings," said restaurant customer Tina Zeng. "She clearly did not like them."

No word on what actually sparked the argument, which apparently escalated in the parking lot.

Huang allegedly grabbed the woman's purse, jumped in his SUV and hit the gas pedal. The woman reportedly reached through the passenger window, standing on the SUV running board, screaming, as Huang sped away.

"It's an amazing story, and we'll see what is actually true and what's not, but it's an amazing story," said online journalist Daniela Gerson. Gerson covers San Gabriel politics.

"There have been some minor scandals here," said Gerson. "I've only been covering the area for a little over a year. Since I've been covering it, this has been the biggest scandal I've heard of."

San Gabriel Police say the mayor drove more than a quarter-mile at speeds topping 45 mph in a 25-mph zone.

A security guard apparently got involved and somehow stopped the SUV and detained the mayor until police arrived.

"I think the allegations are pretty strong and I think that's unfortunate," said Scott Bowles. "

The mayor isn't talking. No one in City Hall is talking. The police wouldn't speak on camera.

Huang was booked for felony assault, felony robbery and misdemeanor battery.

He also thanked his family and friends for their support.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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