Gerrity’s Supermarket, a grocery store in Pennsylvania, has thrown out $35,000 worth of food after Margaret Cirko was said to have coughed on them.


Coughing is one of the ways of spreading coronavirus, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In a statement shared on Facebook, Joe Fasula, co-owner of the store, said the incident happened on Thursday shortly after the store was stocked with new products.

According to Fasula, though it appeared Cirko was carrying out a “twisted prank”, all goods she had contact with had been disposed of  for fear they might have been contaminated.


“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 into the store and proceeded to purposely cough on our fresh produce, and a small section of our bakery, meat case, and grocery,” the statement read.

“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 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.


“Although we have not yet quantified the total loss, we estimate the value to be well over $35,000.”

The Hanover township police department also confirmed Cirko’s arrest, adding that she has been charged to court.

“Cirko was 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,” the statement read.


“In addition to misdemeanor counts of criminal attempt to commit retail theft and disorderly conduct.”

The statement said she was however placed on a temporary bail of $50,000 with preliminary hearing on the issue billed to hold on April 8.

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