Southern California breaking news and trends

Pinkberry co-founder arrested for allegedly beating a homeless man with tire iron

Mark Lennihan

An appetizing shot inside a Pinkberry.

News broke last night that the co-founder of the Pinkberry yogurt chain was arrested at LAX on a warrant for assault with a deadly weapon.

Then the L.A. Times reported, that Young Lee is accused of chasing down a homeless man last June and beating him with a tire iron.

According to the AP, police spokesman Bruce Borihanh says 47-year-old Lee was arrested by a joint police and FBI fugitive task force Monday afternoon as he arrived at LAX on a flight from South Korea. He is in jail on $60,000 bail.

AP's call for comment to the Pinkberry headquarters in L.A. wasn't immediately returned.

Lee co-founded Pinkberry with Shelly Hwang in Los Angeles in 2005. It now has more than 150 franchised stores, though it has seen the closure of its original West Hollywood location.

This post has been updated.

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See LA's plans for City Hall Park, Occupy LA's old home

Images courtesy Department of Recreation and Parks

The three options Department of Recreation and Parks officials are shopping around.

Los Angeles Police Move In To Evict Occupy LA Encampment

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

That's bare ground underneath the stuff left behind after police raided the camp.


Seemingly in line with the collaborative spirit of what was the Occupy LA encampment at City Hall, the city is presenting refurbishment options to the downtown community and trying to make what was once mostly a plain patch of grass better than ever. The plans are available on a Department of Recreation and Parks site labeled the "Restoration of City Hall Park."

It has already presented a set of three options to the Downtown Neighborhood Council, and according to the L.A. Times, the second choice is in the lead. That option would replace some of the grassy area with drought-tolerant plants, but maintain some room for public events.

You might recall that there was a lot of chatter about how much money it was going to cost to refurbish the lawn after a nearly two-month-long stay by Occupy LA protesters left it in tatters. The number the city settled on was big. Also, it pondered suing protesters to recoup that big number. Blogdowntown reports that the options would range from $350,000 to $1 million to execute.

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Countrywide mortgage investigation: Reps. Buck McKeon, Elton Gallegly got loans

Congressman Buck McKeon (R-Simi Valley)

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Armed Services Committee ranking member Rep. Buck McKeon (center) before a hearing in 2009.

Two veteran House Republicans from California — Reps. Buck McKeon and Elton Gallegly — were among four congressmen who got mortgages from the now-defunct Countrywide Financial under a VIP program, the Wall Street Journal first reported on Saturday.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been investigating whether some members of Congress got discounts from Countrywide under its VIP program. The AP has reported that that four House members had received the VIP loans, and one of the four remains unidentified. The three identified congressmen, including Rep. Edolphus Towns, a Democrat from New York, told the Journal they were unaware their mortgages were sent to a special VIP unit of Countrywide or that they might be receiving special discounts.

A 1998 loan to McKeon, who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, was for $315,000. Gallegly's 2005 loan was for $77,000.

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Orange County serial homeless killings suspect: Who is Itzcoatl Ocampo?

Homeless Homicides

Anaheim Police/AP

This photo provided by the Anaheim Police Department shows Itzcoatl Ocampo. Investigators are "extremely confident" that Ocampo is responsible for all four recent killings of homeless men in Orange County.

Who is the man suspected in the serial killings of four Orange County homeless men during the last three weeks?

He is an Iraq war veteran who was a 2006 graduate of Esparanza High School. Twenty-three-year-old Itzcoatl Ocampo, who lived in Yorba Linda, was chased away from a Friday night attack behind an Anaheim Carl's Jr. and, with help from more than two dozen witnesses, caught about a quarter-mile away in next-door Yorba Linda.

Police arrested him for suspicion of murder, and on Saturday announced they believed they had found the serial killer who had been targeting homeless men in the county, successfully stabbing four of them to death, including the last on Friday night.

"We are extremely confident that we have the man who is responsible for all four murders of homeless men in Orange County," Anaheim police Chief John Welter said Saturday.

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Third-grade Riverside teacher may have been drunk in class

The L.A. Times reports today on a teacher who was forced to leave her classroom after apparently behaving like a drunk person:

The Times reports that Riverside County prosecutors are deciding whether to file criminal child endangerment charges against an elementary school teacher who was reportedly drunk in the classroom.

The sheriff's  deputies were called to Susan La Vorgna Elementary School Thursday.

According to authorities, school officials became suspicious over a hall pass the teacher wrote out that day. The teacher was removed from her third-grade classroom on suspicion of being intoxicated.

The teacher's name was not released. The newspaper says she was released to a family member.

 

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