Monday, January 30, 2012

Another Pinkberry Executive Arrested for Attacking a Homeless Person

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Pinkberry co-founder Young Lee, who was arrested after a confrontation with a homeless person turned violent, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of assault with a deadly weapon. According to the police report, Young stepped out of his Land Rover at a Los Angeles freeway off-ramp and beat a panhandler with a tire iron. He attempted to justify the attack by claiming the homeless man had disrespected him by exposing a sexually profane tattoo. Young, an architect and former kick boxer, partnered with entrepreneur Shelly Hwang in 2005 to create the Pinkberry franchise, which is famed for its tangy -- almost vinegary -- tasting frozen yogurt. The chain earned an immediate cult following of irony loving celebrities because of its sheer awfulness. Young has been freed on $60,000 bail and is awaiting the March 5 hearing set by the judge. However, in a bizarre and related turn of events, another Pinkberry executive was arrested in San Narciso County late Monday afternoon for what could be a copycat assault on a homeless person.

San Narciso Police took Percival Eriksson into custody near the Hobo Gardens transient community after witnesses reported an attack against one of the residents. Eriksson owns the Bennington Vale Pinkberry and serves on the corporation's executive board. His alleged victim, a homeless man named Hank Somersbaud, was found cowering under a park bench with a broken arm, a broken knee and numerous lacerations covering the left side of his face. At the time of his apprehension, Eriksson was brandishing a bloody tire iron.

"The details of the incident are sketchy, and the case remains under investigation," said SNPD spokesperson Ren Williams. "We do know that Mr. Eriksson was very close to Young Lee during his time with the company. He keeps referring to himself as one of Young's 'disciples.'"

Young left Pinkberry in 2010 after the company became embroiled in controversy when the California Department of Food and Agriculture determined that the product did not contain the necessary amount of bacterial cultures per ounce to be classified as frozen yogurt. But insiders believe Young created an internal group of followers whom he trained in his unique form of martial arts.

Ren Williams said: "Our sources claim that Young had formed an elite team of executives versed in his philosophical teachings and fighting tactics. Many of these guys, people like Eriksson, were distributed throughout the organization. The story goes that Young was a horrible and clumsy kick boxer. Worse than mediocre. After failing his yellow belt test for the sixth time, he went out to his car, returned to the class with a tire iron and beat down the entire student body. Since then, he's been teaching a form of martial arts for the lazy and inept, where they merely bludgeon people with crowbars, tire irons and other blunt metal objects."

Based on their preliminary interrogation of Eriksson, authorities do not believe the attacks were hate crimes aimed at panhandlers.

"It's a lot weirder than that," Williams added. "Eriksson said that after Pinkberry ran into legal problems over the bacteria thing, Young sent his troops out to scour surrounding areas for homeless people. Then, if you take Eriksson's testimony seriously, they would wipe down the vagrants they found with damp cloths for germ samples."

Eriksson told officers that "those dirty hobos are walking petri dishes. They're covered in bacteria. It was the best way to get what we needed for our yogurt."

He also explained the attack as an act of self defense: "We had a deal with these bums. They let us collect bacteria samples and we give them a few bucks. But some of these guys get greedy -- they try to extort more money from the company or they make stupid demands like having us name flavors after them. Can you imagine walking into a Pinkberry and ordering a Hank? Anyway, I paid this guy in advance, but when I tried to swab him down, he resisted. I thought he was going to put his grubby hands on me or rape me or something, so I defended myself using Young Lee's martial arts techniques."

When asked what SNPD thought about Eriksson's account of collecting bacteria samples from homeless people, Williams replied, "I guess it would explain why Pinkberry tastes like sweaty ass and grapefruit juice."

(c) 2012. See disclaimers.