NC man claimed he had COVID-19, coughed on Walmart customers, police say

North Carolina news

BELMONT, N.C. (AP/WNCN) – Police in North Carolina have arrested a man they accuse of coughing at customers at a Walmart store and saying he had COVID-19.

The Gaston Gazette reports that Robert Eugene Heffner, 26, of Belmont, was arrested on Friday night.

Robert Eugene Heffner in a photo from the Gaston County Jail

This is the second case in North Carolina this month in which a man was accused of claiming he had COVID-19 in a Walmart and was arrested.

The newspaper cites arrest warrants stating that Heffner “purposely coughed at a customer” and said he had coronavirus. The warrant warns that his actions could cause fear among the public.

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in NC

Online jail records show that Heffner was charged with misdemeanor counts of a public health violation and failure to comply.

Jail records didn’t list whether he has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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