Two suspects in separate incidents are being charged after allegedly claiming to have coronavirus and spitting on a police officer.
According to the Vancouver Police Department (VPD), the first incident happened on April 4 at a Home Depot located on Cambie Street.
A thief was reportedly trying to flee the business, and when a loss prevention officer stepped in, the suspect allegedly spat in the officer’s face.
“The thief stated that he had COVID-19 during the assault,” says Tania Visintin, VPD Media Relations Officer.
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The second incident took place a day later at the Urban Fare market in Olympic Village.
“A man became obnoxious when having to wait in a lineup outside of the Urban Fare,” Visintin tells Daily Hive. “They were taking precautions for social distancing due to COVID-19.”
The man became “verbally aggressive” and “assaultive” and reportedly spat on the face of an employee. When a member of the VPD arrived on the scene, they were allegedly spat on by the same individual.
VPD Chief Adam Palmer took to Twitter on Wednesday, saying that both suspects were “charged with assaulting an officer.”
He also recognized the courage that police were showing during this difficult time.
We’ve had 2 recent incidents where suspects are threatening, coughing or spitting at #VPD officers & claiming to have #COVID19 – both charged with assaulting an officer. So proud of our members showing courage in the face of adversity @VancouverPD pic.twitter.com/qNi4dhzYkr
— Adam Palmer (@ChiefPalmer) April 9, 2020
Visintin says that “police will be arresting people who think they can use this pandemic as a means to assist them in their criminal activity.”
“We are stepping up our resources to assist in fighting this pandemic and do not want to see people taken advantage of during these unprecedented times,” she says.