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Teens face charges after COVID-19 prank in Walmart store

(WSAZ)
Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 6:33 PM EDT
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A couple of teens went into a Walmart last weekend to pull a COVID-19 prank on shoppers, but police didn't find it so funny.

Nitro Police in Kanawha County responded to a call from the Walmart about two teens who wanted to scare shoppers, film them and put it on YouTube.

"The whole world is in panic right now with COVID-19, and we got two juveniles from St. Albans come over here scaring people to death," Nitro Police Chief Bob Eggleton said.

Eggleton said the teens went into the Nitro Walmart, armed with a spray bottle and a cellphone. He said the teenagers' intentions were to come up behind customers, cough on them and then tell customers they had coronavirus.

"What they were doing, walking up to people, walking behind them, coughing, spraying them with a bottle which had nothing more in it than water and saying they had COVID-19," Eggleton said.

Nitro Police said the teens managed to cough and spray at least three customers. The customers complained to the Walmart management who, in turn, called Nitro Police. Officers stopped the teens in the Walmart parking lot.

"At some point, somebody has to stand up for this," Eggleton said. "This isn't funny. These people were scared to death with this."

The teens are under 18, but Nitro Police are working with the prosecutor's office to charge both with terroristic threatening, a felony in West Virginia.

"The minimum they could get is battery, but we are looking at a more serious charge than that," Eggleton said.

He said he doesn't know why these teens thought what they did was humorous or why they wanted to share it on the internet, but nevertheless they'll face juvenile charges.