On Wednesday, a woman allegedly entered a Gerrity’s supermarket in Hanover Township, Pennsylvania, and coughed on food all over the store, forcing the grocery chain to toss out approximately $35,000 worth of product.
In a Facebook post from Wednesday, Gerrity’s co-owner Joe Fasula wrote about the alleged incident.
“Today was a very challenging day. At 2:20 PM today, I got a call from our Hanover Township store. The manager informed me that a woman, who the police know to be a chronic problem in the community, came in to the store and proceeded to purposely cough on our fresh produce, and a small section of our bakery, meat case, and grocery,” wrote Fasula.
The co-owner continued, noting that while it was likely the “woman was doing it as a very twisted prank,” out of an abundance of caution, the store disposed of “all product she came into contact with” and engaged in an extensive cleaning of various sections of the store.
Fasula then spoke about how tossing out that much food, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, made him feel “sick.”
Although we have not yet quantified the total loss, we estimate the value to be well over $35,000. We are checking to see if our insurance company will cover it, but even if they do, our rates will surely go up next year. I am also absolutely sick to my stomach about the loss of food. 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.
The co-owner applauded his store team, who were able to usher “the woman out of the store as fast as possible,” and added that the district attorney’s office “will be aggressively pursuing numerous charges” against the woman, as well as making sure she is tested for COVID-19.
Fasula concluded his post by once again lauding his team for taking the matter very seriously, for staying late to help clean up, and for coming in early to restock.
Photos from the Facebook post show the empty shelves and the cleanup process that followed the incident.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has many Americans on edge, multiple stories of people behaving inappropriately have been reported.
26-year-old Cody Lee Pfister was recently arrested and charged with a “terrorist threat in the second degree” after posting a video to social media in which he said, “Who’s scared of coronavirus?” before proceeding to lick multiple deodorant sticks in a Missouri Walmart.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes:
Pfister “knowingly caused a false belief or fear that a condition involving danger to life existed,” court documents state, adding that he acted “with reckless disregard of the risk causing the evacuation, quarantine or closure of any portion” of Walmart.
50-year-old George Falcone was “charged with harassment and making terroristic threats” after a Wegmans employee in New Jersey claims that the man told her he had COVID-19 and coughed on her after she asked him if he could move, reports NBC News.
On Sunday, a man allegedly coughed in a Chicago police officer’s face at the scene of an accident, and said, “Corona, okay?” The arrest report claims that the officer “immediately felt particles of saliva/breath” on his face from the man.