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Governor: Angry Customer Claims COVID-19 Infection Before Coughing On Store Clerk, Now He Faces Terroristic Charges

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Officials say a man got into an argument at a Wegmans Food Store in Manalapan before claiming to be infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus and intentionally coughing on a store worker - and now he is facing charges.

Gov. Phil Murphy mentioned the incident during his Tuesday update on the status of the coronavirus outbreak in New Jersey.

"There are knuckleheads out there," said Murphy.

The Attorney General's Office identified the man as 50-year-old George Falcone, of Freehold, New Jersey.

The incident happened around 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Wegmans on U.S. Highway 9.

According to officials, a female employee was concerned that Falcone was standing too close to her and an open display of prepared foods, so she asked him to step back as she covered the food.

Falcone then allegedly stepped closer to her, leaned toward her and purposefully coughed before laughing and saying he had the coronavirus.

Officials say Falcone also allegedly told two other employees they were lucky to have jobs.

Falcone allegedly refused to identify himself or provide identification to a detective who was working a security detail at the store. Falcone identified himself after about 40 minutes and was allowed to leave.

After an additional investigation, summonses were issued.

Falcone is being charted with terroristic threats, obstructing administration of law or other governmental function and harassment.

"We are up and down the state and we will not take any non-compliant behavior, nevermind egregious behavior such as this," said Murphy.

The story of the incident came as Murphy announced there were 846 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections in New Jersey, bringing the state's total to 3,675 known cases. Tuesday also saw 17 new COVID-19-related deaths, a total of 44 deaths in New Jersey.

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