AUGUSTA — A local man who allegedly slammed a cup full of live bedbugs onto a counter in Augusta City Center in early June — causing the insects to pour out and the public facility to be closed for the day — has been charged with two misdemeanors.

City police charged Charles Manning, 74, with assault and obstruction of government administration, class D crimes punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine, said Lt. Chris Read. They issued the summons to Manning in late June, and he will appear in court on August 7.

When Manning released the bugs into City Center, he was reportedly seeking General Assistance money but had just learned that he didn’t qualify for it, city officials said after the June 2 incident. Upon learning he didn’t qualify, Manning pulled out the cup and slammed it onto a counter, releasing about 100 bugs into the office, they said.

Manning had been to City Center earlier that day, apparently to complain to the code enforcement office about the bedbugs in his former apartment on Court Street, officials said. The apartment was being treated with pesticides, and he reportedly was seeking General Assistance to help find a new place, but he didn’t qualify because he had other sources of income.

Read would not disclose details of the police investigation. But in June, Matt Nazar, city development director, described the reasoning that Manning apparently had offered for unleashing the bugs.

“He told police he wanted (the city staff) to experience the same thing he was experiencing,” Nazar said. “Frankly, the General Assistance office has nothing to do with bedbugs. It’s an extraordinary bit of misdirected anger.”


At the time, police stopped Manning outside City Center but did not arrest him.

City Center was closed that Friday afternoon and re-opened the following Monday morning, after the General Assistance office and other areas of the building were sprayed with bedbug-killing chemicals by a pest control company.

Bedbugs have been a persistent problem in some buildings in the city, and they had been found in the city’s General Assistance office previously. The bugs are brown, flat and about a quarter-inch long, with a soft, rounded look. After a blood meal, they are dark red and larger. They feed on human blood but are not believed to carry disease.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker


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