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Costco shopper punched in fight over samples: 'He hit me, and the blood started'

A 78-year-old man spoke exclusively to CBS2 Tuesday night days after he was punched in the face while shopping at a Costco store in Burbank.

A 78-year-old grandfather said he bled for several minutes and became dizzy after being punched in the face at Costco for confronting a man about taking too many Nutella samples.

Sahak Sahakian was shopping at the warehouse store in Burbank on Sunday when he approached the Nutella sample cart and reached for one. As he tried to get one, Derrick Gharabighi, 24, snatched all of the samples, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

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"He takes two, three of them, left one," Sahakian said in an interview with CBS Los Angeles. "I want to take that one, and he catch my hand. I say, 'What are you doing? Let me eat this one.' "

That's when Gharabighi reportedly punched Sahakian in the face. "He hit me, and the blood started," Sahakian said.

Sahakian was hospitalized with a 1-inch cut and swelling above his left eye. In the interview with CBS, his eye was bruised and swollen, and he wore a large bandage on his face.

Gharabighi, a Burbank resident, was arrested and is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, police said.

He has been charged with one count of elder abuse, as well as a special allegation that he inflicted great bodily harm on the elderly man, prosecutors said. If convicted, he faces up to 11 years in state prison.

Gharabighi has a history of criminal convictions.

In the last three years, he was convicted twice for trespassing, and earlier this year he was convicted of petty theft and drug possession for sale, according to Los Angeles Superior Court records.

Sahakian told CBS, "I don't want nothing to happen, but only the government … [or] the police to teach him that this is bad."

Tchekmedyian writes for Times Community News.

For more California news, follow @VeronicaRochaLA.

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