A Pennsylvania woman who intentionally coughed on about $35,000 worth of food as a “prank” is now being charged with four felonies, including counts of making terrorist threats, according to police.
Joe Fasula who is co-owner of Gerrity’s supermarket chain, released a statement on Facebook that said “A woman, who the police know to be a chronic problem in the community,” walked into the chain’s Hanover Township store and “proceeded to purposely cough on our fresh produce, and a small section of our bakery, meat case and grocery.”
The Hanover Township Police Department identified the woman as 35-year-old Margaret Cirko.
Investigators say Cirko walked into the grocery store at around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday and began to yell at customers and employees. She then yelled out “I have the virus, now you are all going to get sick!” as she coughed and spat on food.
“Cirko continued this behavior in several aisles before attempting to steal a 12-pack of beer as she was being ordered to leave the store by employees,” police said.
All $35K worth of food was thrown out and the areas were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, officials said.
Cirko was arrested and charged with two felony counts of terrorist threats, one felony count of threats to use a “biological agent” and one felony count of criminal mischief. She also faces misdemeanor counts of criminal attempt to commit retail theft and disorderly conduct.
She underwent a mental health evaluation on Wednesday, police said, and authorities were working to get her tested for coronavirus. It is still unknown whether she tested positive or negative for the virus.
Cirko is being held at the Luzerne County Prison on $50,000 bail. She is due in court on April 8.