Arrest made after violent robbery of Lyft driver in South El Monte is caught on video

Local news

A man has been arrested after the violent robbery of a Lyft driver was caught on video.

Dandre Lorenz Powell is seen in a photo released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on May 20, 2021.
Dandre Lorenz Powell is seen in a photo released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on May 20, 2021.

The incident occurred May 11 at an Arco gas station near the intersection of Rush Street and Rosemead Boulevard in South El Monte.

The assailant is seen on dashcam video pistol whipping the victim, leaving him with a bloody nose.

During the incident, the suspect asked the victim if he was from China and the victim said no and indicated that he was from Taiwan, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.

The suspect, identified as 26-year-old Dandre Lorenz Powell, of Downey, got away with $1,560 in cash, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

He was taken into custody Tuesday in Paramount with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Officials said the clear dashcam video and the public’s assistance helped solve the case.

“This individual is a very very dangerous person, he has a long criminal history of violence,” Detective Sergeant Richard Lewis said during a news conference announcing the arrest Thursday. He called the attack “brazen” and “horrific.”

The victim, 67-year-old Paul Liao, suffered face trauma and was hospitalized. A GoFundMe account started for the victim raised more than $32,000 in less than a week and was eventually closed following the overwhelming support.

“To the victim and his family: I send my deepest sympathy for all the trauma this has caused. I know that you’re extremely frightened and you took the job as rideshare driver to provide for your family during these difficult times with the pandemic,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Thursday.

Powell has been charged with one count each of first-degree robbery, victimizing an elder individual in a violent crime and two counts of felon in possession of a firearm, Lewis said. His bail was increased to $2 million.

Lewis said detectives recommended hate crime charges against Powell, but indicated the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to file them.

Paul Liao is seen in a photo posted on a GoFundMe page in May 2021.
Paul Liao is seen in a photo posted on a GoFundMe page in May 2021.

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