Woman Charged With Terrorist Threat After Coughing On $35,000 Worth Of Groceries

Jenna Amatulli

A woman has been charged with several felony and misdemeanor counts, including one for a terrorist threat, after potentially contaminating more than $35,000 worth of produce and other items by coughing on food in a “twisted prank” in northeastern Pennsylvania.

On Wednesday, Gerrity’s Supermarket posted on Facebook about a woman who is a “chronic problem in the community” and how she allegedly coughed all over its “fresh produce, and a small section of our bakery, meat case and grocery.”

“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 store’s co-owner, Joe Fasula, wrote in the post.

Fasula estimates that the “total loss” is “well over $35,000,” and that the store is “checking to see if our insurance company will cover it, but even if they do, our rates will surely go up next year.”

The Hanover Township police department posted a press release on its Facebook page about the incident on Wednesday and updated it on Thursday, identifying the woman as Margaret Cirko.

“Police were called to the business after Cirko entered the store making verbal threats that she was sick while intentionally coughing and spitting saliva/bile on produce/meat/merchandise,” according to the release. “Cirko continued this behavior in several aisles before attempting to steal a 12-pack of beer as she was being ordered to leave the store by employees.” 

Fasula in his post wrote, “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...

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