Mouth swabs in Rutledge ends with county citations

Staff Written News

By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor 

Five persons were cited for a Morgan County peddling ordinance in Rutledge after citizens complained that the group was going door-to-door and taking both mouth swabs and personal information.

According to Morgan County Sheriff’s Office reports, the group was stopped at the intersection of Fairplay Road and Dixie Avenue in downtown Rutledge by Morgan County Deputy Timothy Saye. 

Complainants told deputies that the group came to their homes and said they were either collecting mouth swabs to check for the COVID-19 virus, were collecting mouth swabs to test for heart issues or worked for the Kirby Vacuum Cleaners. 

Complainants said the group  requested copies of their identification cards, insurance cards and other personal information. 

Reports state that the suspects told investigators that they told the complainants they were swabbing people for heart disease and “never mentioned COVID-19.”

Officers seized the swab material and paperwork the group had collected and erased all images from the group’s cell phones.

Cited were Zachary Lane Harris, 19, McDonough; Antina Denise McCune, 50, McDonough; Derick Dewayne McCune, 19, McDonough; Jettie Roberts, 69, McDonough and Jerome Keith Moody, 61, McDonough. 

According to Morgan County Magistrate Judge Connie Holt, penalties for the ordinance violation ranges from six months probation to 60 days incarceration and a $210 fine.

Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley said the group’s information was also forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to see if there are other instances of people attempting to fraudulently gather personal information. 

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