south el monte

Manhunt Underway After Lyft Driver Beaten, Robbed at Calif. Gas Station

The assault was recorded on dash camera video. Investigators are hoping it will help them find the robber

NBC Universal, Inc.

A manhunt was underway Friday for an armed robber who attacked an elderly Lyft driver in South El Monte, California, Monday night.

The assault was recorded on dash camera video. Investigators are hoping it will help them find the robber.

"He cannot take my car, he angry, he hit me," said Lyft driver Yu Yung Liao who goes by Paul.

Liao says he stopped at an Arco gas station at about 9:30 p.m. Monday at Rosemead Blvd. and Rush Street to get gas and wash his car. He was sitting in his BMW when the robber got in through the unlocked back door.

"I told him 'OK you don't shoot me ... I give you money, no problem," explained Liao.

The robber stole Liao's cell phone and $1,500 in cash, according to Liao, but when he wanted to steal the car, Liao refused and the robber hits him in the face with a gun.

Liao says that he pretended that the car has a new keyless system that would only allow the owner to drive it. The video shows the robber becoming furious and hitting Liao again, knocking off his glasses.

Video of the attack was posted online by an Instagram account called "Jackfroot," which features attacks on Asian-Americans.

Liao is originally from Taiwan and started driving for Lyft after the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down his online business selling LED lights.

Investigators say they don't believe the attack was racially motivated but Liao says the gunman did ask about his ethnicity.

"He kept asking me, ' are you from China?' I say no."

Investigators are checking surveillance cameras at the gas station to look for more video evidence but say the dash camera video will be helpful to try to find the armed robber.

"It's very clear video, which has great detail of the suspect, and utilizing technologies the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has, we're hoping there have been previous contacts with him and we get an identification on him soon," said Detective Sgt. Richard Lewis.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

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