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Local News

2 teens charged with Walmart coronavirus prank

Two teens were charged with strolling around a Joliet Walmart while one – who was wearing a surgical mask on his face and a sign on his back proclaiming he was infected with coronavirus – sprayed food and merchandise with Lysol.

One of the two teens – Tyler Wallace, 19, of Joliet – surrendered himself at the Joliet Police Department and was arrested on charges of criminal damage to property, disorderly conduct and retail theft.

Wallace was transported to the Will County jail and was booked into custody. His bond for the assorted misdemeanors was set at $20,000.

A 17-year-old who was with Wallace during his visit to the Walmart on Route 59 south of Theodore Street has been referred to the juvenile justice system for his part in the incident, according to the Will County State's Attorney's Office, and was charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct,

The two teens pulled their apparent prank on Sunday afternoon, police said.

Officers responding to the Walmart were informed that two suspects entered the store and one put on a "yellow medical mask," police said.

The masked man then started to spray a substance that was later determined to be Lysol on produce, clothing and health and beauty products, police said.

The masked man also wore a handmade sign on his back that said, "Caution, I have the coronavirus," police said.

Joliet police Sgt. Chris Botzum confirmed Wallace was the one wearing the mask and the sign while spraying Lysol on the various merchandise.

The stunt ended up costing more than $7,300 in loss of product, according to Walmart, and the cost of cleanup was in excess of $2,400.

Within days of the incident, detectives with he Joliet Police Department met with prosecutors from the state's attorney’s office to review the facts of the case, police said.

"After reviewing the facts, the Will County States Attorney’s Office determined there was enough probable cause for the issuance of a Complaint Warrant for Wallace," according to a statement released by the police department.

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