Police: Woman coughed, spat on food in grocery claiming she had coronavirus

The Gerrity Supermarkets in Scranton, Pa. was reportedly forced to toss out an estimated...
The Gerrity Supermarkets in Scranton, Pa. was reportedly forced to toss out an estimated $35,000 worth of food after a woman spat and coughed on it claiming she had COVID-19.(Gerrity Supermarkets/Provided)
Updated: Mar. 26, 2020 at 8:54 PM EDT
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LUZERNE COUNTY, Penn. (FOX19) - A Pennsylvania woman who claimed she had coronavirus as she allegedly spat and coughed on food at a local grocer faces charges of terroristic threats and weapons of mass destruction, according to the Scranton-based Times-Tribune.

The newspaper says Gerrity Supermarkets, where the incident occurred Wednesday afternoon, was forced to toss out an estimated $35,000 worth of food.

The charges reportedly say 35-year-old Margaret Cirko was coughing and spitting on food and merchandise while saying, “I have the virus. Now everyone is going to get sick.”

COVID-19 has infected 36 people and killed one in Luzerne County so far, the Times-Tribune says.

Store manager Leonard Karabon told the newspaper Cirko entered the store and immediately began “violently coughing and spitting” on produce while repeatedly saying she was infected.

Cirko reportedly coughed through the meat department and up and down grocery aisles. At one point, according to the Times-Tribune, the complaint says she forced herself to vomit on merchandise.

One employee told police she was “smiling and laughing," the newspaper says.

Officers reportedly used surveillance video to identify Cirko, whom they knew from “prior police contacts,” according to the charges.

***Update **** Our produce department was fully stocked by 2 PM today (Thursday). Thank you to everyone who worked so...

Posted by Gerrity's Supermarket on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Times-Tribune says she is charged with criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, retail theft, making terroristic threats and making a bomb threat related to a weapon of mass destruction.

Magisterial District Judge Joseph A. Halesey reportedly set her bail at $50,000.

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