Massachusetts man gave ‘COVID hugs’ to cancer survivor, other strangers at Walmart, police say

Massachusetts police are searching for a serial hugger who gave unwelcome “COVID hugs” to strangers shopping at a Walmart last week.

The unidentified man hugged multiple customers at the Springfield store at around 7 p.m. on Aug. 15 before telling them they were now infected with the coronavirus, the Springfield Police Department said.

One victim, a cancer survivor, told police the man walked up to him, took an item out of his hands and hugged him.

"Just giving you a COVID hug,” the suspect reportedly said. “You now have COVID."

The suspect then started laughing and walked away, according to police. The victim said he had never seen the man before.

Police have asked for the public’s help in identifying the suspect. The man was pictured on surveillance footage wearing a black face mask, black T-shirt and gray camouflage shorts.

The suspect is being sought for assault and battery and making terroristic threats, police spokesman Ryan Walsh told MassLive.

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