Police Believe Walmart Bomb Threats are Connected
Police now say they have the phone number the call was made from.
July 30, 2012 — -- Police in Missouri investigating the string of bomb threats that triggered evacuations and searches for dangerous devices at 11 Midwest Walmart locations now say they have the phone number the call was made from.
"We have the telephone number that came in. We are actively pursuing and investigating that number at this time. I do believe all of these are connected," Fredricktown, Missouri Police Chief Eric Hovissaid said.
In total eight stores across Missouri received bomb threats, while three more store locations, one in Leavenworth, Kansas and two in Lawrence, Kansas, also received similar calls. The Fredricktown Walmart received a call at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, according to ABC17. No devices were found at any of the stores.
"It was an automated call and the voice said there's a bomb in the building. You have two hours to get everybody out this store. This is not a joke," Hovis said.
It was not until Sunday that the three Kansas locations received the threats. Leavenworth Deputy Police Chief Dan Nicodemus on Sunday told ABCNews.com that someone called a Walmart in Grand View, Mo., to threaten the Leavenworth location. Grand View Walmart employees called Leavenworth police at 4:27 a.m. on Sunday, he said.
Walmart locations in Jefferson City, Nixa, Ozark, Raytown, Gladstone and Fredericktown were shut down due to bomb threats, ABC17 in Columbia, Mo., reported Friday.
In each case, the caller said explosive devices were on the premises. In one case a store was told many people would die.
"We pulled into the parking lot and we saw people running and walking out of the Walmart," shopper Joseph Rodriguez told ABC News. "A lot of people didn't know what was going on -- even employees -- they were just being rushed out."
Former FBI profiler Brad Garrett says at this point police are working to see if the cases are connected.
"You had a number of them Friday night in Missouri, and so could that have been the same person?" Garrett said. "Obviously the caller has got some issue with Walmart. They got fired perhaps … they had some issue with Walmart in the present or the past."
Garrett also says in the wake of the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., communities all around the country are on high alert.
"I don't think people should be worried about shopping at Walmart," he said. "I think people should understand that the law enforcement takes bomb threats seriously, and they cost communities a lot of money. But yes, law enforcement is a little bit on edge obviously because of what happened in Aurora."
Walmart spokesman Dan Fogleman said that the company would also be working with law enforcement to find the person responsible for the threats.