One of three people wanted for swiping $5,000 worth of allergy medicine from CVS stores in Mahwah and Ramapo claimed he had COVID-19 while repeatedly coughing on the Montvale police officers who captured them, authorities said Wednesday.
He also gouged the paint on a police vehicle with his handcuffs, they said.
Officer John Guico was at the CVS on Chestnut Ridge Road around 4 p.m. Tuesday when he spotted a vehicle described in an alert issued by Ramapo police shortly after a theft at one of their stores, Montvale Police Chief Joseph Sanfilippo said.
Police arrested the trio, identified as Tyler Harrison, 32, and Clyde Harrison Jr., 37, both of Binghamton, NY, and driver Chantel Atkinson, 33, of Endicott, NY, the chief said.
They found the trio with nearly $5,000 worth of over-the-counter allergy medication stolen from the other two CVS stores, he said.
“During the course of the arrest, Tyler Harrison repeatedly coughed on the officers, saying that he was COVID positive,” Sanfilippo said. “He also used the handcuffs on his wrists to severely gouge the paint along the side of a police vehicle.”
Police charged Atkinson and Clyde Harrison Jr. with receiving stolen property and released them pending a hearing.
They charged Tyler Harrison with aggravated assault on law enforcement officers, making terroristic threats, criminal mischief, receiving stolen property and illegal drug possession and sent him to the Bergen County Jail, where he remained Wednesday.
Harrison to the Bergen County Jail, where he remained Wednesday.
Harrison was wanted on warrants out of North Plainfield, Florham Park, Montclair, Livingston and Pennsylvania when Ramsey police arrested him for shoplifting in February. A judge ordered him released hours later, records show.
Authorities noted that many allergy medications contain Dextromethorphan (DXM), which can have extreme effects on the user depending on how much is taken.
Depending on the dosage, the DEA says, experiences range from stimulation to hallucinations, euphoria, extreme sedation and “dissociative” effects – the feeling of leaving their body or “that things around them are not real.”
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