A local resident who was charged with making terroristic threats in a Manalapan supermarket at the start of the coronavirus pandemic two years ago is scheduled to appear in state Superior Court in March to answer those charges.
In response to an inquiry from the News Transcript on Feb. 15, Peter Aseltine, a public information officer in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, said George Falcone of Freehold faces a pending charge of making terroristic threats (third degree).
Aseltine said Falcone is scheduled to appear in Superior Court, Freehold, on March 21 before Judge Richard English.
An incident involving Falcone at the outbreak of the pandemic generated significant publicity in New Jersey at the time it occurred, but the state’s case against him has remained unresolved for two years.
On March 24, 2020, Gurbir S. Grewal, who was New Jersey’s Attorney General at the time, announced that criminal charges were filed against Falcone following an incident in which he allegedly coughed on a food store employee in Manalapan and told the woman he had the coronavirus.
Grewal said Falcone, who was 50 years old at the time, was charged with making terroristic threats (third degree), obstructing the administration of the law or other governmental function (fourth degree), and harassment (petty disorderly persons offense).
The incident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. March 22, 2020, at Wegmans, Route 9, Manalapan.
According to Grewal, a Wegmans employee was concerned Falcone was standing too close to her and an open display of prepared foods, so she requested that he step back as she covered the food.
Instead, Falcone allegedly stepped forward to within 3 feet of her, leaned toward her and purposely coughed. He allegedly laughed and said he was infected with the coronavirus.
Falcone subsequently told two other employees they were lucky to have jobs, according to a press release from Grewal.
A detective from the Manalapan Police Department was working a security detail at the supermarket and approached Falcone, who allegedly refused to cooperate with or provide his name or driver’s license to the detective.
After approximately 40 minutes, Falcone identified himself and was permitted to leave Wegmans. Following additional investigation, summonses were issued.
The case is being prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice in the Attorney General’s Office. Third degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, according to the Attorney General’s Office.