Belmont man accused of coughing on store customers, saying he had COVID-19

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

Robert Eugene Heffner Jr., 26, of Belmont, was arrested on Friday night.

He was charged with a public health violation, according to officers.

Police said that Heffner “purposely coughed at a customer" and said he had coronavirus.

“The action could create fear in the customer and the public at large,” a warrant said.

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Officials said Heffner was screened by nurses and did not show any symptoms related to COVID-19 and did not have a fever.

Heffner is being held at the Gaston County Jail, without bond and is being monitored.

No other details have been released at this time.