NJ Man Faces Charges After Coughing On Wegmans Worker, Claiming To Have COVID-19

WCBS 880 Newsroom
March 24, 2020 - 3:24 pm

TRENTON (WCBS 880) — A New Jersey man will be charged with making terroristic threats and harassment after he coughed on a supermarket employee and then claimed to have coronavirus.

Gov. Phil Murphy said during a press conference Tuesday that the man got into a dispute with an employee at Wegmans, coughed on her and then told her he had coronavirus.

When police were called, Murphy said the man refused to cooperate with authorities for nearly 40 minutes. He would not provide his name or identification.

A summons has been issued for making terroristic threats, harassment and obstruction.

“This is not an E.O. violation, per say, but it demonstrates active law enforcement and the steps that we are taking,” the governor said.

He praised law enforcement officers for enforcing the “unique environment in which we’re living.”

He said New Jersey will not stand for any non-compliant or egregious behavior such as this.

George Falcone

“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,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “We must do everything we can to deter this type of conduct and any similar conduct that harms others during this emergency. Just as we are cracking down on bias offenses and those who use the pandemic to fuel hatred and prejudice, we vow to respond swiftly and strongly whenever someone commits a criminal offense that uses the coronavirus to generate panic or discord.”

“Exploiting people’s fears and creating panic during a pandemic emergency is reprehensible. In times like these, we need to find ways to pull together as a community instead of committing acts that further divide us,” said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

The man was later identified as George Falcone, 50, of Freehold. 

The incident occurred Sunday at a Wegmans located on US Highway 9 in Monmouth County. 

Falcone can face fines and prison time if convicted.