coronavirus

Man Claiming to Have COVID-19 Spits on Trooper, Defecates in Cruiser, Police Say

The man was arrested after stealing a car with its owner's dog inside, according to the Massachusetts State Police

NBC10 Boston

A Massachusetts man accused of stealing a car spit on a state police trooper and defecated in the cruiser and barracks after he was arrested, while claiming to have the new coronavirus, according to the Massachusetts State Police.

Hamza Conner, a 29-year-old from Boston, was arrested Tuesday after he fled from a stolen car in Plymouth, police said in a statement Wednesday. Conner allegedly refused to give his name, spit on an arresting trooper and said he had COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The incident began Tuesday morning when the Braintree Police Department put out a call to area police departments to be on the look out for a white Ford Explorer stolen from a pet supply store parking lot, according to state police. The car was stolen with the car owner's dog still inside.

A state trooper working a detail on Route 3 in Kingston was almost struck by the SUV as it sped by, according to state police. Following a police chase, the stolen car crashed on the ramp from Route 3 southbound to Route 44 westbound. Police said Conner took off running toward Commerce Way in Plymouth.

A state trooper found and arrested Conner on Industrial Park Way in Plymouth shortly after 11 a.m. That's when Conner became "unruly and resistant," according to the Massachusetts State Police statement, and the spitting incident occurred.

Police said Conner continued to spit in the cruiser as he was taken to the state police barracks in Norwell and defecated in the cruiser and in the barracks’ booking area. 

The three troopers involved in arresting Conner and handling him at the barracks were put on brief leave and will be monitored for symptoms. Police said they are attempting to have Conner tested for COVID-19. 

According to police, the dog that was in the car when it was stolen was found in Somerville has been reunited with his family. Police are investigating whether the stolen car may have been involved in a crash in Boston. 

Conner is expected to be remotely arraigned on Wednesday in Plymouth District Court. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

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