Alaska State Troopers are advising the public that “making a false claim of infection of a highly communicable disease or virus is Terroristic Threatening in the Second Degree – A class C felony punishable by imprisonment up to 5 years and up to a $50,000 fine,” and point out that if a person knowingly sends or delivers a bacteriological or biological substance even by coughing, sneezing, or spitting, thus placing persons in reasonable fear of physical injury is a crime of Terroristic Threatening I, which is a class B Felony and punishable by 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. This was stated by AST following a Tuesday incident involving a shoplifting suspect at Three Bears in Wasilla.
At 4 pm on Tuesday, troopers responded to Three Bears in Wasilla for a suspected shoplifter resisting loss prevention officers as they were working to detain her. Troopers contacted the suspect, later identified as 32-year-old Elisa Johnson, who initially gave a false name. After ascertaining her true identity, it was found that she had three outstanding warrants for previous cases of Trespassing, Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance V, and providing false info.
After being taken into custody by troopers and placed in a patrol vehicle, Johnson repeatedly told the arresting officers that “she had recently tested positive for COVID-19.” This caused troopers to initiate required notification and decontamination procedures. A short time later, Johnson recanted her claim, but troopers continued verification steps to confirm that she had made a false claim.
Eventually, Johnson was remanded to Mat-Su pre-trial on her warrants and additional charges of Theft/Shoplifting and False Information.