Derrick Gharabighi, a 24-year-old man from Burbank, California, has been charged with elder abuse after he punched a 78-year-old man while shopping at Costco.
On Sunday morning, Gharabighi was at Costco hoarding free samples of Nutella waffles when a 78-year-old man, Sahak Sahakian, told him to take just one, as he wanted a sample too. The young man’s response to the elderly’s request was a punch in the face. According to the Daily Mail, the elderly sustained a swollen eye and a one-inch cut above the left eye.
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) September 23, 2015
Burbank police officers responded to the incident at 10:50 a.m. that Sunday. Gharabighi was charged with one felony count of elder abuse with an added allegation that he inflicted injury on someone who was older than 70-years-old. He was held on a $50,000 bail and, if convicted, could face up to 11 years in prison for the assault. Under California law, those charged with assaulting a person over the age of 70 resulting in great injury must stay in the state penitentiary for at least a year if found guilty.
Police say that there is no surveillance video of the incident.
A press release from the District Attorney’s office was released soon after the incident occurred.
“Gharabighi was at a warehouse store in Burbang when he walked up to get a Nutella waffle sample. When the elderly victim reached out, Gharabighi took all of them.”
Derrick Gharabighi appeared at the Los Angeles County Superior Court and entered a not guilty plea. He is due back in court on October 2.
According to KTLA, this is not Derrick Gharabighi’s first encounter with the law. The young man was arrested less than two weeks before the Nutella incident. He also had other arrests for trespassing and petty theft in 2012, 2013, and there were also a few arrests this year. In addition, he also faced charges on spousal battery and cohabitant abuse.
Burbank Police Department Sgt. Claudio Losacco spoke about the incident.
“It’s a shame that it had to come to this over a Nutella sample. It’s a tragic situation where someone in their 70s, almost 80 years old, is faced with something like this.”
Sahakian was treated at a nearby hospital following the assault on him. The victim and his family do not want to talk about the Nutella incident to the media.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]