NEPTUNE, N.J. – A man is facing charges after allegedly coughing on a Wegmans employee in New Jersey and claiming he had the coronavirus, authorities said.
George Falcone, 50, of Freehold Township was charged with making terroristic threats, harassment and obstruction after officials said he refused to identify himself or provide identification to township police for more than 40 minutes, according to a news release from the state Attorney General's Office.
Gov. Phil Murphy, who mentioned the incident at a news conference Tuesday, said police responded to a call after a man was in a confrontation with a female employee of the supermarket chain and then "coughed on the woman and told her after doing so that he had the coronavirus."
The employee told Falcone, who was shopping at the Wegmans in Manalapan around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, that he was standing too close to her and an open display of prepared foods, according to the news release. The woman asked him to step back as she covered the food.
That request prompted Falcone to step forward to within three feet of her, lean over and "purposefully" cough. He then allegedly laughed and said he was infected with the coronavirus, according to the Attorney General's Office.
A Manalapan police detective, who was working a security detail at the store, approached Falcone after the incident. He allegedly refused to cooperate or provide his name or driver’s license for 40 minutes. He eventually identified himself and was allowed to leave the store, authorities said.