A woman in Pennsylvania entered a Gerrity’s Supermarket on Wednesday afternoon this week and proceeded to intentionally cough on fresh produce, a small section of the bakery, meat case and grocery items, alleges the store’s co-owner Joe Fasula.
Writing on the store chain’s Facebook page, Fasula says the woman is known “to be a chronic problem in the community.”
“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,” writes Fasula. “We ￼had no choice but to throw out all of the products she came in contact with. Working closely with the Hanover Township health inspector, we identified every area that she was in, we disposed of the product and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected everything.”
Fasula adds, “Although we have not yet quantified the total loss,￼ we estimate the value to be well over $35,000.”
“The only silver lining to this travesty is that it gave us the unfortunate opportunity to test our protocols and demonstrate how seriously we take your safety,” said Fasula in closing. “At one point, we had over 15 employees involved in the disposal and clean up.￼￼”
The Hill is now reporting the woman has been charged for making terrorist threats via her coughing stunt.
Margaret Cirko, 35, allegedly “intentionally contaminated” grocery items by coughing and spitting on them, claiming to be sick while attempting to steal a pack of beer, according to the Hanover Township Police Department.
The incident resulted in the store disposing of $35,000 worth of produce, meat, and other essential items. Cirko was sent to a mental health hospital to be evaluated after her arrest.
Cirko was charged with two felony counts of terroristic threats using a biological agent, one count of criminal mischief, and misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and attempted retail theft.
Police have charged Margaret Cirko, 35, with making terroristic threats after they say she claimed to have #coronavirus & intentionally coughed/spit on food in grocery store. Store threw out $35,000+ of product @69News pic.twitter.com/vppZBdEh0S
— Emma Wright (@wright_emma) March 26, 2020