In a Wednesday statement on the Gerrity's Supermarket Facebook page, co-owner Joe Fasula wrote, "Today was a very challenging day.”
“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,” the statement continued.
“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. We had no choice but to throw out all product 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,” the statement explained.
Fasula also noted that even though the value of the disposed food has not yet been quantified, it is expected to be “well over $35,000.”
Although authorities do not believe that the woman is infected with COVID-19, Fasula also noted that they will “make every effort” to get her tested.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Hanover Township Police Department confirmed that it is investigating the incident.
“The suspect has been identified and is being evaluated at a local hospital for a mental health evaluation. Criminal charges will be filed,” the officers noted.
The latest incident comes after New Jersey local George Falcone, 50, was charged Tuesday with making a terroristic threat for coughing on a Wegmans grocery store employee after claiming he had the coronavirus. Falcone could face up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $26,000.
The latest data by Worldometer reveals that there are more than 75,600 cases of the coronavirus in the US, and at least 1,100 people have died as a result.