WARRENTON, Mo. — A Missouri man has been charged with a terroristic threat after licking a row of deodorant sticks at Walmart and posting video of the act online.
Cody Lee Pfister, 26, of Warrenton, was charged Tuesday in connection with the March 11 incident, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“A local resident who took a video of themselves licking the merchandise after making a ‘coronavirus’ statement at Walmart and posting it to social media has been taken into custody,” the Warrenton Police Department said Monday in a statement. “Charges will be pending through the Warren County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.”
Court records show Pfister was ultimately charged with second-degree terroristic threat, a felony.
According to court documents obtained by the Post-Dispatch, authorities allege Pfister “knowingly caused a false belief or fear that a condition involving danger to life existed” and that he acted “with reckless disregard of the risk causing the evacuation, quarantine or closure of any portion” of the store.
Information compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows a total of 19,675 coronavirus deaths across the globe as of Wednesday morning. More than 438,000 cases of illness have been reported.
Pfister’s seven-second video, which was still circulating on Wednesday, begins with him asking, “Who’s afraid of coronavirus? Don’t touch your mouth.”
He appears to be referring to health officials’ recommendations that citizens refrain from touching their mouths or faces to avoid spreading the virus.
He then runs his tongue along a row of deodorant sticks.
The video went viral.
Click here to see the video. Warning: It contains some graphic language.
“This particular video, which won't be shared here, has gained some international attention and we have received numerous reports about the video from locals, nearby residents, as well as people from the Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom,” Warrenton police officials said. “We take these complaints very seriously, and would like to thank all of those who reported the video so the issue could be addressed.”
The Warren County Sheriff’s Department also addressed the issue on Facebook.
“Good job Warrenton PD. Frustrating that we have to waste valuable resources on calls like this during these trying times,” Sheriff’s Department officials said.
Pfister was not the only person charged Tuesday with a terroristic threat related to the coronavirus.
George Falcone, 50, of Freehold, New Jersey, was charged Monday with terroristic threats, harassment and obstructing the administration of law or other governmental function after he allegedly coughed on an employee at a Wegmans in Manalapan and told her he had the virus.
Earlier this month, a Wisconsin woman licked the door handle of a grocery store freezer “in protest” of the coronavirus, according to Newsweek.
“While sanitizing handles in the freezer section, store manager Marty reported looking over at a woman who proceeded to look at him and lick the door handle of a freezer door,” a police report obtained by the news magazine said.
The unidentified 53-year-old Marshfield woman was issued a no trespassing order.