• A California woman was arrested after she 'ruined' $1,800 worth of groceries
  • The affected items were deemed as unsellable due to possible cross contamination
  • Other people who recently committed similar acts did so as coronavirus-related pranks

Authorities arrested a woman in Northern California after she allegedly "licked" items at a grocery store, ruining about $1,800 worth of grocery items. It is not clear why the woman acted as such but other similar events of late were done as pranks.

On Tuesday, South Lake Tahoe police officers responded to a Safeway over reports of a customer "licking" groceries in the store. Upon arriving at the scene, officers spotted the suspect, 53-year-old Jennifer Walker, with a shopping cart full of merchandise, which she evidently had no means of purchasing.

According to employees at the store, the woman placed "numerous" pieces of jewelry on her hands then licked them. She, then, loaded her cart with items from the store, all of which were then considered as unsellable due to cross-contamination.

The items that had to be destroyed included the jewelry that she licked, liquor and meat. Walker was arrested for suspicion of felony vandalism and remained in custody as of Wednesday in lieu of a $10,000 bond.

According to authorities, Walker has no other local arrest records but, they noted that they have had "local contact" with her. These previous interactions, however, were not divulged.

It is not clear why Walker committed the act but, recently, there have been multiple cases of people contaminating grocery items by licking them or coughing on them as a prank related to the coronavirus. Such pranks are being taken seriously by authorities, especially considering that the coronavirus can easily be spread through droplets.

As such, many of these individuals have been charged with terrorist threats to use a “biological agent.”

For instance, towards the end of March, a woman entered a local grocery store in Pennsylvania and threatened people that she was sick. She then coughed on various grocery items such as meats, fresh produce, and bakery items and, even attempted to steal a 12-pack of beer as she was being ordered to leave.

The woman was eventually arrested by authorities and was charged with two felony counts of terrorist threats. At a time when many people are already worries about supplies or a possible lack of it, the woman’s twisted prank caused the grocery to have to throw out $35,000 worth of produce.

Sign for Safeway grocery store shown in San Francisco
A sign for a Safeway grocery store is shown in San Francisco, California, February 23, 2009. REUTERS