A 74-year-old man from Augusta, Maine has been charged with assault and obstruction of government administration for throwing a cup full of live bedbugs on an employee at the Augusta City Center. Charles Manning is set to appear in court August 7th to face the two misdemeanor charges, which are punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
In an “extraordinary bit of misdirected anger,” Manning released the bugs onto the counter after learning that he did not qualify for General Assistance on Friday, June 2nd. Manning had repeatedly visited the center that day to complain about the bedbugs in his apartment, and finally unleashed the bugs so that city officials would “experience the same thing he was experiencing.”
Manning apparently failed to consider the fact that “the General Assistance office has nothing to do with bedbugs,” and his creative expression of frustration swiftly earned him an arrest instead of the assistance he had been seeking.
City Manager William Bridgeo claimed that he has never had anything as yucky as this.
“He whipped out a cup and slammed it on the counter, and bam, off they flew, maybe 100 of them,” Bridgeo said.
Finance Director and Assistant City Manager Ralph St. Pierre quickly Windexed the bugs to immobilize the pests. He and a few other employees even managed to dispose of a few with paper towels as they began to scatter.
The surviving bugs elicited mayhem throughout the office building, and immediately prompted the precautionary closure of the entire center. Following the closure, Bridgeo called a pest contractor to spray the building to kill the remaining bedbugs. Bridgeo had even considered using dogs to locate the surviving pests.
“It made sense at that point to close the building to make sure the public or employees don’t get exposed and take (bedbugs) home with them,” Bridgeo said. “They’re nasty little buggers when they take hold somewhere.”
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