Walmart Shopper Spits in Elderly Woman's Face After She Asks Him to Wear Mask

A man spat in an elderly shopper's face after she asked him to wear a face mask inside a Walmart store in Pennsylvania, authorities said.

Evan Spangenberg, 22, was arrested after the incident at the Walmart Supercenter on Old Willow Avenue in Honesdale on Sunday, according to a Pennsylvania State Police report.

State police said a 69-year-old woman from Honesdale had been shopping in the store when she came across Spangenberg and a woman, who weren't wearing masks or face coverings.

The woman had asked the couple to wear their masks due to the coronavirus pandemic and her own concerns, police said. "The female complied, however the male refused to do so and became argumentative with the victim," police said in the report.

State police said the woman then proceeded to the store's customer service desk to report the incident and call police.

Spangenberg left the store, but then came back inside and ran up to the woman at the customer service desk and spat on her face.

He then fled the store, police said, but was identified through video surveillance footage and witness statements.

Spangenberg, of Preston Park, has been charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment.

Walmart declined to comment on the incident, citing the law enforcement investigation.

It's not the first time a dispute over mask-wearing inside a Walmart store has led to criminal charges.

Last week, a Louisiana man was charged after allegedly hitting a police officer with his car shortly after he was asked to leave a Walmart for not wearing a mask.

Ricky Lee Taylor, 64, was arrested outside the Walmart Supercenter in West Monroe, Louisiana last week.

It came as Walmart announced that it would start requiring customers to wear masks or face coverings in all U.S. stores and clubs from July 20 to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"While we're certainly not the first business to require face coverings, we know this is a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities," Walmart U.S. Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith and Sam's Club Chief Operating Officer Lance de la Rosa said in a statement announcing the measure last week.

"According to the CDC, face coverings help decrease the spread of COVID-19, and because the virus can be spread by people who don't have symptoms and don't know they are infected, it's critically important for everyone to wear a face covering in public and social distance."

A man walks near a sign informing customers that face coverings are required in front of a Walmart store in Washington, DC on July 15, 2020. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images