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Man charged after police say he licked items at Warrenton Walmart to mock virus fears

Man charged after police say he licked items at Warrenton Walmart to mock virus fears

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Cody Pfister

Cody Pfister was charged after he posted a video of himself licking items at a Warrenton Walmart on March 11, 2020, to mock fears about the coronavirus. Photo courtesy of the Warren County Jail.

UPDATED Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. with a statement from the suspect's attorney.

WARRENTON — A 26-year-old man was identified in court documents Tuesday as the person who police say posted a video online of himself licking items in a Warrenton Walmart earlier this month.

Cody Lee Pfister, 26, of Warrenton, has been charged by the Warren County Prosecuting Attorney's Office with a terrorist threat in the second degree. 

In the posted video, Pfister looks at the camera and asks, "Who's scared of coronavirus?" before licking a row of deodorant sticks for purchase. 

Court documents state the incident took place March 11.

Pfister "knowingly caused a false belief or fear that a condition involving danger to life existed," court documents state, adding that he acted "with reckless disregard of the risk causing the evacuation, quarantine or closure of any portion" of Walmart.

Pfister's attorney, Patrick J. Coyne, said in a statement Wednesday that the video was actually taken on March 10, the day before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

"Public conduct that was immature on March 10 looks completely differently through the lens of today," Coyne said. "Everything has changed at warp speed, but that should not work retroactively and convert a tasteless and impulsive act into a criminal terrorist threat."

Pfister has admitted to committing crimes in Montgomery County. In 2013, Pfister pleaded guilty in circuit court to burglary and stealing a firearm. In 2016, Pfister pleaded guilty in Montgomery municipal court to a charge of disorderly conduct. Two years later Pfister pleaded guilty in circuit court to driving while intoxicated, and was given probation. Pfister violated probation and was given jail time, according to court records.

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct the county in which Pfister earlier pleaded guilty to various charges.


• Read about retail stores in the region that are cutting hours or closing due to the coronavirus.

• Read the list of area restaurants that are closing, switching to carryout or otherwise adjusting due to the coronavirus.

• Area events canceled or postponed

• Read the list of canceled sports events.

• COVID-19 cases in Missouri by county

• COVID-19 cases in the United States

• CDC fact sheet: Prevention and treatment

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