Woman sentenced to up to 2 years in jail for coughing on $35K worth of food


A Pennsylvania woman who purposely coughed and spat on food in a supermarket while screaming she had COVID-19 was sentenced to up to two years in jail.

Margaret Ann Cirko, 37, apologized in court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to a felony charge of making bomb threats over the March 2020 incident in a Gerrity’s Supermarket near Wilkes-Barre.

Cirko was arrested after police say she went into the supermarket and started coughing all over the fresh produce, as well as the bakery and meat sections.

At the time, Cirko was screaming: “I have the virus, now you are all going to get sick.”

Joe Fasula, the co-owner of the supermarket chain, claimed they had to throw out $35,000 worth of food and products as a result of Cirko’s actions.

Joe Fasula restocks shelves at Gerrity’s in Hanover Township, Pa., after Margaret Ann Cirko coughed on $35,000 worth of produce and meat.
Aimee Dilger/The Times Leader via AP
Joe Fasula
Joe Fasula said at the time customers and employees were scared they were going to catch COVID-19.
Aimee Dilger/The Times Leader via AP

Fasula later described it as a “twisted prank” but said customers and employees at the time were terrified they were going to get sick.

Margaret Cirko sits in a police car after her arrest on March 26, 2020.
Margaret Ann Cirko sits in a police car after her arrest on March 26, 2020.
Mark Moran

Given it took place at the beginning of the pandemic, Fasula said no one knew if the virus could spread on surfaces.

Cirko tested negative for COVID-19 after her arrest, her attorney told the court during her sentencing hearing.

The attorney blamed the ordeal on Cirko being drunk.

Cirko apologized in court, saying: “I wish I could take it back.”

The judge, however, slammed her actions as “totally outrageous” before sentencing her to one to two years in jail and eight years of probation.

She has also been ordered to pay almost $30,000 in restitution and undergo a mental health evaluation.

With Post wires

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