“I have the virus. Now everyone is going to get sick.” – attributed to Margaret Cirko, 35, accused of coughing on groceries, stealing beer
| Mar 27, 2020
CNN – A woman purposely coughed on $35,000 worth of food at a Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania area grocery store, police said.
She likely faces criminal charges for coughing, one of the primary ways the novel coronavirus spreads.
The woman entered small grocery chain Gerrity’s Supermarket in Hanover Township and started coughing on produce, bakery items, meat and other merchandise, chain co-owner Joe Fasula wrote on Facebook.
Staff quickly removed her from the store and called police, who found her a few hours later and took her into custody.
Hanover Township police said the woman “intentionally contaminated” the food, and they plan to file criminal charges against her once her mental health treatment concludes.
Officials don’t believe she’s infected with coronavirus but “will make every effort to see that she is tested,” Fasula wrote.
Despite considering what she did a “very twisted prank,” Fasula said the store threw out every item she came into contact with and worked with a local health inspector to identify and disinfect areas she entered.
Ultimately, he said, the store disposed of $35,000 worth of food.
People who threatened to spread the virus charged with terrorism
The Department of Justice affirmed Wednesday that people who intentionally spread the novel coronavirus could be charged with terrorism.
Officials across the states are taking threats of spreading coronavirus seriously.
Earlier this week, a New Jersey man who police said purposely coughed on a grocery store employee and said he had coronavirus was charged with making “terroristic threats.”
And in Missouri, a 26-year-old man was charged this week with making a terrorist threat after he was filmed in early March licking sticks of deodorant at a Walmart, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. In a video, the man asks, “Who’s scared of coronavirus?” the newspaper reported.
According to a Justice Department memo, the virus meets the criteria for a “biological agent,” and threatening to spread it or “use Covid-19 as a weapon against Americans” could constitute a terrorist threat … Read more.