Customers Should be Aware During Store Threats
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The FBI is investigating a series of bomb threats called in to Wal-Mart stores across Missouri and Kansas. The latest threats happened on Sunday when Kansas Wal-Mart stores in Lawrence and Leavenworth were evacuated.
A total of 11 Wal-Mart stores have been evacuated in the two states since Friday, July 27. Police in Fredricktown, Mo. told reporters that investigators have traced the phone number where the threat originated and believe all the bomb threats are connected.
The threats prompted evacuations of all the stores involved including locations in Gladstone and Raytown. Police did not find explosives at any of the stores. Still, the owner of Orion Security who has done some business with Wal-Mart says customers need to be aware that what starts as a hoax could turn into the real deal.
“What’s really scary, and what law enforcement officers are worried about now, is that he’ll say there’s a bomb inside as a diversionary practice then he’ll put a bomb in a car outside, to get everybody coming out and then boom!” said Charles Stephenson.
Leavenworth Police say a caller to a different Wal-Mart in Missouri threatened the Leavenworth location. In another call, a store was told many people would die. Again, nothing was found. Retired FBI agent Michael Tabman says he would feel safe at Wal-Mart and says customers have a role to play in helping investigators.
“I know people don’t like the word profile, we don’t like to use it,” said retired FBI agent Tabman. “But even a shopper has a profile. You know what they look like. You know if they’re browsing the store, looking at merchandise. Someone who does not fit that profile, and we’re not talking racially now, talking about conduct. Not looking at merchandise, maybe looking at the layout of the store more, maybe looking at cameras, ingress and egress, those are the people you should be alert for. “
Tabman says reports of unusual activity has helped solve many crimes. As gathering places continue to become targets, he says it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on around you.
A spokesperson for Wal-Mart says “We’re working closely with law enforcement and are committed to providing any information that we may have that can help identify and prosecute those responsible.”