As Coronavirus continues to spread in the United States, grocery stores are feeling the strain. As people make sure they have enough food for prolonged stay at home orders, retailers are struggling to keep items on the shelf. This week, a grocery story was forced to throw out $35,000 worth of food after a woman entered the store and intentionally coughed on food items.
According to a post from the local PD:
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The Hanover Township Police Department is investigating an incident at 2280 Sans Souci Pakway, Gerrity’s Supermarket, for a female customer who intentionally contaminated produce/meat/merchandise for sale.
The suspect has been identified and is being evaluated at a local hospital for a mental health evaluation. Criminal charges will be filed.
The Hanover Township Police Department was assisted by the Hanover Township Health Officer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office and the Pennsylvania State Police.
The owner of the store posted the following update on Facebook:
Today was 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.￼
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.
Although we have not yet quantified the total loss,￼ we estimate the value to be 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.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
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.
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.￼￼
I would like 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. I would also like to thank the people who will going in early tomorrow to get the departments restocked. One thing is for sure, we will have the cleanest display and freshest produce anywhere in northeast PA.
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