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Pinkberry co-founder Young Lee arrested for assault

January 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The co-founder of the Pinkberry yogurt chain has been arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly assaulting a homeless man.

Young Lee was arrested Monday afternoon on an outstanding warrant by the Los Angeles International Airport Fugitive Task Force after his plane touched down at the airport from South Korea.

The 47-year-old allegedly assaulted the homeless man on June 15 in downtown Los Angeles at the off-ramp of the 101 Freeway at Vermont Avenue.

According to authorities, Lee thought the victim, Donald Bolding, had disrespected him by exposing a sexually explicit tattoo. He and a companion chased Bolding and beat him with a tire iron.

"They struck him numerous times with the tire iron, breaking one of his arms and lacerating his head," said Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Andy Neiman.

The victim was treated at the hospital.

Police said they recovered the tire iron in the alleged assault.

Witnesses gave details of the incident to police, including the license plate of the Range Rover which returned to a rental in Lee's name. Detectives are still searching for Lee's companion.

The LAPD hasn't revealed why they waited this long to arrest Lee. It is possible the Pinkberry co-founder hasn't been in the area since the alleged assault.

Lee lives in Malibu. He co-founded Pinkberry with Shelly Hwang in 2005. The two were married, but filed for divorce in 2010.

In a statement, Pinkberry said, "He has no influence or input into the company in any way."

Pinkberry is known as the widely-popular healthy, low-calorie frozen yogurt shop with a loyal following that includes celebrities.

The first location opened on Huntley Drive in West Hollywood in 2006, which is no longer open. The location quickly generated a loyal following, drawing in about 3,000 customers a day and becoming known as the yogurt shop that led to 1,000 parking tickets.

There are currently more than 100 locations worldwide throughout the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Mexico.

Lee is charged with several counts of assault. He was released on $60,000 bail on Tuesday and is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 6. He is facing up to seven years in state prison if convicted.