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A Man Was Arrested For Hoarding Masks and Coughing on Police

He claimed to be infected with COVID-19.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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A man in New York suspected of hoarding masks was arrested after he coughed on investigating authorities. 

According to a report on the New York Post, the 43-year-old man identified as Baruch Feldheim allegedly tried to sell about 1,000 N95 respirator masks to a doctor in New Jersey. He is also accused of price gouging because he was selling the masks for about $12,000 (about P612,000) or a markup of roughly 700 percent.

Feldheim also allegedly told another doctor who wanted to buy masks to go to a location in Irvington, New Jersey, where the doctor discovered enough medical supplies—including hand sanitizers, Clorox wipes, chemical cleaning agents and surgical supplies—“to outfit an entire hospital.”

Feldheim reportedly received another massive shipment of face masks in his Brooklyn home a few days later. Authorities confronted him there on Sunday.

“When the agents were within four to five feet of him, Feldheim allegedly coughed in their direction without covering his mouth,” the NY Post report said, quoting the U.S. attorney’s news release. “At that point, Feldheim told the FBI agents that he had the coronavirus.”

The suspect reportedly told FBI agents that he worked for a company that bought and sold PPE and that he never took physical custody of the materials. This was later proven to be false.

After Feldheim’s arrest, the FBI raided a warehouse in Linden, New Jersey that housed his suspected stash of 80,000 masks, a source said.

On Thursday, April 2, authorities distributed nearly 200,000 confiscated N95 respirator masks to New Jersey and New York, along with about 600,000 medical gloves, 130,000 surgical masks, and other protective equipment. However, the NY Post follow-up report said it wasn’t immediately clear if these were the same ones confiscated from Feldheim. 

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The United States currently has the most number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, with over 188,000 as of Thursday, April 2. Over 3,900 people have died.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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