Florida man arrested for intentionally coughing on store employee

Christopher Canfora, 49, was arrested Tuesday for intentionally coughing on a store employee. Photo courtesy of Volusia County Sheriff's Office/Twitter

April 9 (UPI) — Police in Florida said they arrested a man for intentionally coughing on a retail store employee out of disdain over the establishment’s social distancing practices.

Christopher Canfora, 49, was arrested Tuesday at his Debary County home and charged with aggravated assault after deputies were called to Harbor Freight Tools in Orange City, about 30 miles north of Orlando, where a female employee reported that Canfora approached her at the cash register and said the store’s social distancing measures, such as tape markers indicating where customers should stand, were “getting out of hand.”

According to the Volusia Sheriff’s Office, after Canfora made the comment, he coughed on the employee and the register.

“[The employee] said Canfora then explained that he does the same to people wearing masks when he sees them and he was planning on going to another store and doing it some more,” the police statement read.

Canfora initially denied he had coughed on anyone and said he didn’t have any symptoms of COVID-19, the deadly coronavirus that has infected more than 432,000 people in the United States and killed 14,817 people, according to figures by Johns Hopkins University.

The man later said he didn’t expect anyone to understand his sense of humor and that he couldn’t remember what he had commented to the employee.

According to the police report, Canfora’s actions “created in the mind of the cashier a well-founded fear that the violence was about to take place, and assault was made either with a deadly weapon or with a fully formed conscious intent to commit a felony.”

He was being held at the Volusia County Branch Jail on a $5,000 bond.


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