Michigan Man Wiped His Nose on Dollar Tree Employee Who Asked Him to Wear Mask in Store, Police Say

Michigan police are investigating after a man was caught on camera wiping his nose on a Dollar Tree employee after being asked to wear a mask.

The suspect, wanted for assault, is being sought by the Holly Police Department, which released footage of the incident to social media yesterday. It took place last Saturday at a store on North Saginaw St. at approximately 1:30 p.m., officials said.

Based on the preliminary investigation, the man took issue after being advised by the Dollar Tree clerk that all customers have to wear masks to enter the shop, as stated on signs posted on the door and in line with current government guidance.

Police said the man walked over to the unnamed store clerk and wiped his nose and face on her shirt. He allegedly said: "Here, I will use this as a mask."

The suspect then "continued to be loud and disruptive inside the store before leaving in a white, possibly Ford, window van," police added, releasing a low-res image capture of the man and a picture of a van that resembled the model he was driving.

Assault Suspect - Identity RequestThe Holly Police Department is asking the public's help in identifying the subject in the attached video and picture. The man entered the Dollar Tree store on N. Saginaw St. on Saturday, May 2nd at about 1:30 pm. The clerk advised the man that all in-store customers must wear a mask to enter the store as stated on the signs posted on the entry doors.The man walked over to the clerk and wiped his nose and face on her shirt telling her "Here, I will use this as a mask" the man continued to be loud and disruptive inside the store before leaving in a white possibly Ford window van similar to the one pictured.Anyone knowing the identity of the man or who has information regarding this incident is asked to call the Holly Police Department at (248) 634-8221. Please do NOT share identity or other information to this post. Please reference case incident number 20-2977.Thank you for your help!

Posted by Holly Police Department on Monday, May 4, 2020

Anyone who knows the identity of the man or who has information about the incident is asked to call Holly Police Department at (248) 634-8221 regarding code 20-2977.

The incident comes as COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus, spreads across America, claiming tens of thousands of lives.

There have now been more than 7,500 COVID-19 cases in Oakland County, the local region that includes Holly.

U.S. health officials warn the infectious illness is circulated person-to-person, between people in close contact with each other—believed to be about six feet.

It spreads via droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, which then make contact with others. It may also spread via people who are not showing symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

On Saturday, the same day as the Dollar Store incident, Michigan's Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended a series of health guidelines for all grocery stores and pharmacies until May 29. The executive order says "customers who can medically tolerate a face covering must wear one when entering" a grocery store or pharmacy.

"We must continue protecting the health and safety of both consumers and employees at our grocery stores and pharmacies, which we rely on more than ever during this unprecedented public health crisis," Gov. Whitmer said in a release.

This is far from the first police investigation in the U.S. to be sparked by an unruly store customer during the ongoing and nationwide health crisis, however.

Last month in Colorado, a 51-year-old man was accused of intentionally coughing on groceries after allegedly refusing to comply with local social distancing rules. Earlier, a 53-year-old California woman was arrested for contaminating a cart of supermarket items worth $1,800 after allegedly licking some of the merchandise, police said.

There have been at least 43,950 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan, as of Monday. The disease has been linked to 4,135 deaths, according to government statistics.

The following graph, provided by data analysts at Statista, shows the U.S. states with the most recorded cases of COVID-19 as of May 4, 2020 (via Johns Hopkins University):

coronavirus statista
U.S. states with the most coronavirus cases. Statista
Holly Police Department
Holly Police Department said: "The man walked over to the clerk and wiped his nose and face on her shirt telling her 'here, I will use this as a mask.' The man continued to be loud and disruptive inside the store" Holly Police Department/Facebook
Michigan Man Wiped His Nose on Dollar Tree Employee Who Asked Him to Wear Mask in Store, Police Say | News