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Pahoa man allegedly spits, coughs at employees and claims he has coronavirus while stealing groceries

COURTESY HAWAII POLICE DEPARTMENT
                                Mark Blankley
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COURTESY HAWAII POLICE DEPARTMENT

Mark Blankley

A 37-year-old man is accused spitting and coughing on grocery store employees while claiming he had COVID-19 as he allegedly attempted to steal food from the Pahoa business.

Mark V. Blankley of Pahoa was charged with first-degree robbery, terroristic threatening, fourth-degree attempted theft, promotion of a detrimental drug in the third-degree and an ammunition-related charge. His bail is set at $31,500.

Police said Blankley injured four employees with a shopping cart at the store on April 25. He allegedly coughed and spit in their faces while telling them he had coronavirus, according to police.

Police responded and arrested him. During the arrest, officers discovered contraband in his possession, according to police.

The robbery charge was enhanced to a class A felony from a class B felony because the alleged crime occurred during the statewide emergency order.

The class A felony carries penalties of up to 20 years in prison compared with a maximum of 10 years in prison for a class B felony.

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