HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A Luzerne County woman is locked up in connection with an incident inside a supermarket. She allegedly threatened to make customers and employees sick, claiming she had COVID-19.
Investigators say Margaret Cirko, 35, was out of control inside the Gerrity’s Supermarket on the San Souci Parkway. Employees of the store say it’s something they will never forget.
Margaret Cirko was arraigned outside district court in Hanover Township on Thursday afternoon. District Judge Joe Halesey conducted a “drive thru arraignment” because of COVID-19 concerns.
Detectives say the drama began to unfold around 2:30 Wednesday afternoon when Cirko walked into the store and started yelling at customers and employees. Investigators say Cirko started coughing and spitting inside the store. She allegedly said “I have the virus and now you are all going to get sick.”
Witnesses say she coughed and spit near the bakery section, as well as the produce area.
“When I first got the call, I was speechless. I was really dumbfounded as to why somebody would do that,” said Joe Fasula, Co-owner, Gerrity’s.
Gerrity’s said more than $35,000 worth of food and other merchandise had to be thrown out.
“My first thought was the fact that we are just going to have to throw the food out all this food and it’s so hard to get right now,” said Fasula.
The store was cleaned and disinfected. Word of the incident had shoppers talking on Thursday.
“Sometimes I can’t believe that everything has come to this really, we are living in weird times,” said Michele Rubal of Hanover Township.
“Ah, it’s terrible how could people do that,” said Dave Ksiackiewicz of Hanover Township.
“It’s terrible how people don’t get you know? The country is going crazy with people I don’t know it’s just ridiculous,” said Monika Slusser of Shickshinny.
Sources close to the investigation say Cirko was tested for COVID-19, but the results of those tests are not yet known or are not being made public.
Cirko faces numerous counts including terroristic threats and related charges. She faces up to 20 years in prison.
Right now, she’s jailed unable to post $50,000 cash bail. She’ll have a hearing next month.