Man Hoarded Enough Supplies To 'Outfit An Entire Hospital,' Coughs On FBI Agents
Brooklyn, NY – A man who was hoarding respirators, personal protection equipment and disinfecting items and selling them to nurses and doctors at outrageously-inflated prices was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Sunday.
Baruch Feldheim, 43, claimed he was infected with the novel coronavirus as he coughed on the agents who came to arrest him at his Borough Park home, the New York Post reported.
According to police, Feldheim allegedly sold 1,000 N95 respirator masks to a New Jersey doctor at an approximately 700 markup on March 18.
He pocketed $12,000 in the deal.
Feldheim told the doctor to go to a vehicle repair shop in Irvington, New Jersey, to pick up supplies the doctor had ordered, the New York Post reported.
The doctor told investigators that the suspect had enough surgical supplies, chemical cleaning agents, Clorox wipes, and hand sanitizers at the shop “to outfit an entire hospital,” according to police.
On March 23, Feldheim allegedly tried to sell surgical gowns to a nurse from the stockpile he had stored at his home.
A massive shipment of approximately eight pallets of face masks was delivered at his residence on March 25, and FBI agents soon spotted empty N95 mask boxes outside the home, the New York Post reported.
The agents began watching Feldheim’s residence, and noticed that people kept showing up and leaving with boxes and bags of suspected medical supplies.
They confronted the alleged price-gouging hoarder outside his home on Sunday, the New York Post reported.
“When the agents were within four to five feet of him, Feldheim allegedly coughed in their direction without covering his mouth,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release. “At that point, Feldheim told the FBI agents that that he had the Coronavirus.”
He also claimed that he worked for a company that bought and sold personal protective equipment, and said he never personally had the items in his possession – all of which investigators said was a lie.
Feldheim was arrested on charges of making false statements and assault.
He faces up to six years in prison and fines of up to $350,000 if convicted, according to WNBC.
After he was taken into custody, the FBI searched a warehouse in Linden, New Jersey and located approximately 80,000 N95 masks, the New York Post reported.
On March 25, the federal government issued an executive order banning citizens from hoarding the medical and personal protection equipment that doctors and nurses need in order to help slow the spread of the pandemic, BuzzFeed News reported.