Pennsylvania Coughing ‘Prank’ Suspect Arrested After $35,000 in Groceries Lost

Margaret Cirko
Hanover Township Police Department

Margaret Cirko was arrested and charged with terrorist threats on Thursday after coughing on approximately $35,000 worth of groceries.

According to reports by the Hanover Township Police Department, Cirko entered Gerrity’s Supermarket in Hanover Township on Wednesday. After claiming she was sick, the 35-year-old woman intentionally coughed and spat on numerous items in the store, across multiple aisles.

“I am also absolutely sick to my stomach about the loss of food,” store co-owner Joe Fasula wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “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.”

Fasula did take time to thank “every member of our organization who pitched in today to help, especially those of you who came in on your day off and those who stayed late,” assuring customers that after their tireless efforts “we will have the cleanest display and freshest produce anywhere in northeast PA.”

Cirko is reportedly known for ongoing problems within the community. Authorities say she is undergoing a mental health evaluation and tests to rule whether she actually has the novel coronavirus — classified as “COVID-19” by the World Health Organization.

Police confirmed Cirko has been 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. She also faces misdemeanor counts of criminal attempt to commit retail theft and disorderly conduct.” She is being held at Luzerne County Prison on a $50,000 bail, awaiting her April 8 hearing.


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