Woman arrested for coughing on produce appears in court


HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A woman is facing charges after an incident that occurred at Gerrity’s Supermarket on the San Souci Parkway in March.

On March 25, 36-year-old Margaret Cirko allegedly told people inside the store that she had COVID-19 and coughed and spit toward food inside the store.

Thursday morning, Cirko walked into the District Court in Hanover Township to face charges including one count of criminal mischief/ damage of property, one count disorderly conduct of hazardous/physical offence, one charge of criminal attempt/retail theft, one count of terroristic threats, and one count of bomb threats.

Gerrity’s said more than $35,000 worth of food and other merchandise had to be thrown out. The store was then cleaned and disinfected.

An employee of the supermarket testified Thursday morning that Cirko came into the store and started coughing and yelling “I have the virus and your all going to get sick; everybody’s going to get sick.”

Cirko’s Lawyer, Tom Cometa, challenged the charge of terroristic threats/weapons of mass destruction while under a state of emergency. Cometa said there was no weapon. Prosecutors argue that Cirko’s threat of using bodily fluid, a so called “weapon of mass destruction,” the threat was enough to bring that charge.

Despite the fact she did not have COVID-19, the district judge ruled there was enough evidence to send the case to Luzerne County Court for trial.

Reporter Andy Mehalshick will have more on what happened in court tonight on Eyewitness News at 5pm.

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