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N.J. man charged with terroristic threats after coughing on grocery store worker and saying he had coronavirus

A New Jersey man who coughed on a grocery store employee before telling her he had coronavirus has been charged with terroristic threats, harassment, and obstruction, authorities said Tuesday.

The state's attorney general's office said the man entered a Wegmans in Manalapan on Sunday night, and got into an altercation with the store employee after she told him he was too close to her and a display of prepared food, NJ.com reports. The man — later identified by authorities as 50-year-old George Falcone of Freehold — then allegedly "stepped forward to within three feet of her, leaned toward her, and purposely coughed," before laughing and saying he had coronavirus.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) on Tuesday said this case makes it clear there are "knuckleheads out there." In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Murphy on Saturday issued a statewide stay at home order. As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 3,675 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, with the death toll hitting 44.