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California police seeks robbery suspect who got away by coughing at security

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A woman robbed a store, police said, and made her escape with a brazen strategy during a pandemic: coughing.

Vallejo police are seeking public assistance in identifying and locating a woman who they said robbed a retail store around 6 p.m. Friday, March 27, on the 900 block of Admiral Callaghan Lane.

Store employees told Vallejo police officers that the woman grabbed merchandise items, hid them on her person and strolled outside without paying. A security camera screenshot provided by police shows the woman looking over her shoulder in what appears to be a cosmetics aisle.

Security attempted to stop the suspect outside the store, but the woman approached them and “purposefully began coughing in their faces,” police said.

The employees backed away, fearful for their own safety, while the woman ran through the parking lot to her getaway car.

COVID-19 is transmitted from person-to-person by droplets spread through coughing, sneezing and breathing, health officials have said. The woman was not displaying symptoms of illness prior to the attack, police said.

Police ask that anyone with information call Detective Terry Schillinger at (707) 648-4278.

Anna Bauman is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: anna.bauman@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @abauman

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