In a fitting resolution to a story that shocked the nation last year as the United States was entering COVID-19 lockdown, a Pennsylvania woman who purposely coughed on food while yelling that she had the coronavirus has been sentenced to a minimum of at least one year in jail.
The Associated Press reported that Margaret Ann Cirko, 37 pleaded guilty to charges that felony prosecutors ultimately equated with making bomb threats.
According to AP, “authorities said Cirko entered a Gerrity’s Supermarket location in Hanover Township, near Wilkes-Barre, on March 25, 2020, and purposely coughed on fresh produce and other merchandise while yelling that she had the virus and that everyone would get sick.”
Following the incident, Joe Fasula, co-owner of the supermarket chain, told the court that he and his employees had to throw away over $35,000 worth of food and other store merchandise because of what he called Cirko’s “twisted prank.”
Cirko was arrested following her outburst and ultimately tested negative for COVID-19. Authorities did, however, discover that she was intoxicated at the time of the incident.
In a court hearing prior to her sentencing, Cirko apologized and said, “I wish I could take it back.”
Unfazed by her apparent regret, the Luzerne County judge told Cirko that her conduct was wrong, harmful and “totally outrageous.” She was sentenced to one to two years in jail, eight years of probation, and a restitution fine of $30,000 that she must repay to Fasula and the Gerrity’s Supermarket chain.