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Woman coughed on $35,000 worth of groceries to stoke coronavirus fears

Published Mar 26th, 2020 5:34PM EDT
Coronavirus Food
Image: Harvey O. Stowe/Shutterstock

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  • With the coronavirus pandemic encouraging new standards in personal hygiene, a woman in Pennsylvania deliberately coughed on $35,000 worth of food at a grocery store.
  • The woman was apprehended and ultimately arrested by local police. It’s unclear if the woman has the coronavirus, but the store’s co-owner said he will do everything possible to get her tested. 
  • All of the food in question was promptly thrown into the trash.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

A crisis like the coronavirus pandemic can sometimes bring out the best in people. Over the past few weeks, for example, we’ve seen a number of stories involving people going out of their way to monetarily help complete strangers pay their bills on time.

At the same time, a crisis like the coronavirus can also bring out the worst in people. While some folks are selfishly hoarding enough toilet paper to last for months on end, others are using the coronavirus as an opportunity to scam unsuspecting victims out of their hard-earned money.

The latest, and perhaps most despicable, story we’ve seen about the coronavirus driving people to act with no regard involves a woman who deliberately coughed on $35,000 worth of food at a Gerrity’s Supermarket in Pennsylvania. Ultimately, all of the food had to be thrown away in light of coronavirus concerns. Though if we’re being honest, I’d like to think the food would have been thrown away even if there wasn’t a pandemic.

In a Facebook post on the Gerrity’s Supermarkets Facebook page, Gerrity’s co-owner Joe Fasula said that the woman responsible was known to be a nuisance in the community. The post reads in part:

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.

Our incredible team did the best they could to get the woman out of the store as fast as possible. The police were contacted immediately and the case has been escalated to the District Attorney’s Office. They have assured me that they will be aggressively pursuing numerous charges.

There’s no indication at this point that the woman responsible actually has the coronavirus, but the fact that many people can spread it while being completely asymptomatic is precisely why the virus is so dangerous. Incidentally, Fasula adds that the store will “make every effort” to ensure that the woman gets tested.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.