Missouri man charged with terrorist threat after allegedly coughing on store customers

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Picture of John Swaller, 33

Picture courtesy of Crawford County Jail via Vinelink.

CUBA, Mo. — A 33-year-old eastern Missouri man is charged with making a terrorist threat after police say he intentionally coughed on customers at a store and wrote COVID on a cooler.

Crawford County authorities say John Swaller, of Cuba, was arrested and charged Tuesday, the St. Louis Post Dispatch first reported. A clerk at a Dollar Tree store in Cuba told police he was coughing toward customers and had breathed on a cooler before writing COVID on the inside.

Cuba police chief Doug Shelton says it is unknown if Swaller has the coronavirus. The store was closed and sanitized after the incident.

Online court records do not name an attorney for Swaller. 

This isn’t the first time someone was arrested for tricks and pranks involving the coronavirus. In what was called a “twisted prank,” a woman was arrested in Pennsylvania for coughing on $35,000 worth of produce. Police in Virginia invested a group of teens after a similar incident, in what they called a “disturbing trend.”

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