We live in 2020 where giving someone a hug could be considered a felony offense.
Springfield, Massachusetts authorities are looking for a man who was allegedly walking around a Walmart giving random people hugs then telling them that he had just given them coronavirus. Springfield Police Detective Bureau says the suspect was pictured wearing a black t-shirt and camouflage shorts while he was approaching shoppers to give them "hostile hugs."
"This suspect took an item out of a victim’s hands and then gave him a hug," Burea said per ABC News. "He told the victim ‘just giving you a COVID hug. You now have COVID.’"
The victim—who police chose to keep anonymous—had never seen the suspect prior to their interaction. They are also at high risk of contracting the virus because they are a cancer survivor. It is unclear if the suspect actually has coronavirus, but it is known that he came in contact with several shoppers before leaving the store.
Yet even if the man does not have COVID-19, his actions could still be punishable by Massachusetts state law. ABC claims that the way he approached these customers could be considered a threat in the state. Also, anyone who "communicates a threat either directly or indirectly, orally, in writing or by other means" can be charged with making terroristic threats. As a result, police are reportedly looking for the suspect on charges of assault and battery and making terroristic threats.