Woman convicted of robbing drug store by faking COVID-19

A Walgreens store in Miami, Florida. (File photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A woman who stole items from a Walgreens in San Francisco and escaped by coughing at employees and claiming to have the coronavirus has been convicted of a federal charge. 

Carmelita Barela was found guilty Wednesday of robbery affecting interstate commerce for the incident that took place last April in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Authorities say Barela and another woman entered the store unmasked and carrying empty bags, and they coughed at workers and claimed to have COVID-19 when asked to leave. Authorities say employees didn't want to go near them and they escaped with about $90 in goods. Barela is now facing a potential 20-year sentence.


Carmelita Barela convicted by federal jury of robbery for going into the Walgreens at Post & Franklin in San Francisco, stealing merchandise and coughing, telling manager they had COVID-19, per the US Attorney's Office for the Northern District o