A woman coughed on more than $35,000 worth of groceries on purpose at a supermarket in Pennsylvania, claiming she was infected with the coronavirus.
She has been put under police custody.
The woman who has been identified as Margaret Chirko walked into Gerrity’s Supermarket in Hanover Township last Wednesday and intentionally coughed on the store’s entire fresh-food section, co-owner Joe Fasula revealed in a statement.
The woman has been charged with making terrorist threats and using weapons of mass destruction, as per Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office, and is currently behind bars on a $50,000 bail.
“While there is little doubt this woman was doing it as a very twisted prank, we will not take any chances with the health and well-being of our customers,” Fasula said.
“I am also absolutely sick to my stomach about the loss of food,” he added. “While it is always a shame when food is wasted, in these times when so many people are worried about the security of our food supply, it is even more disturbing.”
Food store workers are currently on the forefront of the crisis.
While most establishments have had to close their businesses down, supermarkets are classified as “life-sustaining,” and their workers have been concerned for their health despite efforts to shield them from harm.
A number of Gerrity’s workers helped dispose of the potentially infected items and cleaned up the area, as per Fasula, who assured people that everything was properly disinfected.
Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis praised the employees for their good work and said her office
“will strive to prosecute anyone taking advantage of this emergency situation or utilizing it for their amusement.”
The workers at Gerrity’s came in early on Thursday morning to restock, and when they arrived, they were met with many heart-shaped, colorful messages taped on the door.
One of the messages, which was posted on the store’s Facebook wall, read:
“Thank you, grocery workers! We appreciate you.”
We are so lucky to live in a community that always comes together in a time of need for one another. What a wonderful…
Fasula noted that there were no signs that the woman was truly infected with the coronavirus.
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