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.

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.

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