Florida man threatens to shoot up Publix due to lack of masks, deputies say

Robert Kovner, 62, arrested in Highlands County

File photo.

SEBRING, Fla. – A Florida man posted on social media that he was going to shoot up a grocery store because not enough people were wearing masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, authorities said.

Robert Kovner, 62, was arrested Tuesday and charged with making a written threat of a mass shooting, according to the Highlands County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators said the Sebring man had threatened to carry out the shooting at a Publix, though officials didn't identify a specific store.

“We realize these are stressful times, but there is no excuse for making threats like this,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook. “It’s not a joke. It’s not just a bad day. It’s a crime. We will ALWAYS take them seriously and you will go to jail.”

Health officials have recommended people wear masks to limit the spread of COVID-19. Some cities and counties require masks be worn in grocery stores and other public places.