A grocery store in Pennslyvania was recently forced to throw out $30,000 worth of food, after a woman coughed on many items in "twisted prank." In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Gerrity's Supermarket co-owner Joe Fasula shared the details of what took place in his Scranton store, calling it all a "very challenging day."
"At 2:20 PM today, I got a call from our Hanover Township store. The manager informed me that a woman, who the police know to be a chronic problem in the community, came in to the store and proceeded to purposely cough on our fresh produce, and a small section of our bakery, meat case and grocery," he explained in the post, further adding how there was "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."
In an effort to take extra measures, Fasula admitted they had "no choice but to throw out all product she came in contact with," but are "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."
He then spoke about the financial loss the store has incurred due to the woman's actions, sharing how although they have "not yet quantified the total loss," it is estimated to be of value 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"
Fasula continued: "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. In addition, while we do not believe the woman is truly infected, they will make every effort to see that she is tested.
He later added, "The only silver lining to this travesty is that it gave us the unfortunate opportunity to test our protocols and demonstrate how seriously we take your safety. At one point, we had over 15 employees involved in the disposal and clean up"
Notably, the Hanover police announced that "the suspect has been identified and is being evaluated at a local hospital for a mental health evaluation." They also confirmed, "Criminal charges will be filed."