Authorities: Man faces charges for coughing on Wegmans employee, saying he had coronavirus

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A Monmouth County man is facing terroristic threat charges for allegedly coughing on a Wegmans store employee and telling her that he had the coronavirus.

The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office says that the incident happened on March 22 around 6:30 p.m. at the Wegmans in Manalapan. Authorities say that the employee stated she was concerned that 50-year-old George Falcone of Freehold as standing too close to her and an open display of prepared foods. The employee apparently asked Falcone to step back while she covered the food.

Authorities say that Falcone allegedly stepped closer to the woman and purposely coughed on her. He then allegedly laughed and told her that he had the virus. Officials also say that Falcone allegedly told two other employees that they were lucky to have jobs.

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The attorney general’s office also says that a Manalapan police detective working security at the Wegmans approached Falcone, who allegedly refused to cooperate or provide his name. The office says that after 40 minutes, Falcone agreed to provide his information.

Falcone was charged with terroristic threats, obstruction administration of the law and harassment.

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“These are extremely difficult times in which all of us are called upon to be considerate of each other— not to engage in intimidation and spread fear, as alleged in this case,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said that exploiting people’s fears and creating panic during this time is “reprehensible.”

Falcone has been ordered to appear in court at a later date. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney to comment on his behalf.

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