Woman charged for alleged Menards assault over face mask policy

(Mankato, MN) – A woman who allegedly started an altercation with Menards employees over the store’s face mask policy is facing criminal charges.

Heidi Ruth Mueller, 35, of North Mankato, was charged with two counts of fifth degree assault and disorderly conduct, all misdemeanors.

According to a criminal complaint, Mueller attempted to walk in to Menards without a face mask on May 17.  The store has a policy that customers are required to wear masks.

In an incident police say was captured on surveillance, an employee told Mueller she needed to wear a mask.  The two quarreled before Mueller grabbed the man’s face mask and pulled it down, according to the complaint.

When another employee intervened and told her to leave, Mueller allegedly responded by slapping the employee in the face and ripping off his mask.  She threw the mask in the garbage before fleeing to the parking lot, according to the complaint.

An employee told police they received 40 tips identifying Mueller as the person who assaulted the Menards staff, and confirmed the information through her now-deleted Facebook page.

The employee who was slapped told police he had feared for his safety.

Mueller has been summoned to appear in Blue Earth County Court, but no date has been set.

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