Update: March 20, 9:29 p.m.
Purcellville authorities released the following update on this incident Friday night:
"After a thorough investigation, the Purcellville Police Department identified the juveniles involved, notified their parents, and subsequently interviewed the subjects. The two juveniles questioned admitted to their involvement, and it was determined that there was no criminal intent. The investigation concluded the teenagers were getting close to other patrons and coughing into their own sleeves, while filming it on their phones. After viewing the video footage, officers determined no actual customers or produce were spit or coughed on directly, but we appreciate the store’s swift action in reporting the incident to police and removing any items in question to ensure the health of store patrons and employees. Due to the age of the minors involved, no names or video footage will be released."
Original report: March 19, 3:45 p.m.
The Purcellville Police Department is investigating a reported incident in which juveniles coughed on produce in a grocery store Wednesday.
Officials say the suspects filmed the act and posted the video to social media. Store employees immediately removed the items in question and have taken measures to ensure customers' health.
In a Thursday release, PPD officials urged parents to monitor their children's activities and social media postings "to avoid the increase of any further such incidents," and to advise against such behavior, especially amid the spread of COVID-19.
"We have learned that this appears to be a disturbing trend on social media across the country, and we ask for help from parents to discourage this behavior immediately," the statement continues.
Further, officials reminded families of the town's curfew, which forbids anyone under 18 from loitering or remaining in a public place between 11:30 p.m. and daylight the following day.