OTTAWA -- An Ottawa man is facing assault charges after he allegedly spit on police officers and claimed to have tested positive for COVID-19.

Police say a witness called 911 and reported a man breaking into a garage on Lagan Way, near St. Laurent Boulevard and Belfast Road, and stealing a bicycle.

After officers found the man, he “resisted arrest and spat on responding officers, repeatedly claiming to be COVID-19 positive,” police said in a news release.

Shane Whelan, 33, is charged with breaking and entering, assaulting police, assaulting with intent to resist arrest, theft, obstructing police and breaching probation.

He appeared in court on Thursday.

“The Ottawa Police Service is treating threats to the wellbeing and health of residents and our members seriously,” the news release said. “Spitting on another person is considered an assault and charges will be considered accordingly.”