Suspect Nabbed, Following 5 Bomb Threats In 2 Weeks At Texas Wal-Mart
The most benign explanation here is obviously someone (or some group) getting a kick out of making trouble for Wal-Mart, costing them time and money and scaring away customers and employees. A darker possibility would be someone probing Wal-Mart's security protocols and police response times and/or flooding this Supercenter with false alarms to desensitize personnel and local law enforcement ahead of an actual threat (the way a methodical house burglar might deliberately trip your alarm night after night, until you finally shut it off).
COPPERAS COVE – Wal-Mart was again evacuated, this morning, for the fifth time in the past month. Details as to why are still unavailable, but activity had returned to normal by 10:30 a.m.
Police responded Tuesday to the fourth bomb threat reported at the Wal-Mart Supercenter.
The Police Department confirmed that Wal-Mart received a phone call at about 11 a.m. stating that there was an explosive in the building. Customers and employees were evacuated beyond the parking lot perimeter and were not allowed back in until about 2:30 p.m.
The police followed normal procedures in conducting a sweep of the building.
"In the interest of public safety, we do go through the motions every time to keep everyone safe. We evacuate and search the building before giving the all-clear," said Lt. Daniel Austin of the Copperas Cove Police Department.
Wal-Mart has had four reported threats within the past two weeks, but no bombs were found in any of the cases. The first two false alarms were reported on June 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. On each of the consecutive days, the building was evacuated for five hours before an all-clear was given.
If the intent is to desensitize, it may be working. Bizarrely well...
Wal-Mart shoppers and employees are unsettled by the bomb threats but are taking the false alarms in stride.
"It's a big town..."
It's a town of 30,000. [Update: As noted by a local military officer in the comments, Copperas Cove is adjacent to Fort Hood, the only two-division Army base in the country and the largest military base in the world. As it turns out, the Wal-Mart is only a couple hundred feet from the edge of the military reservation.]
"...There are bound to be dangers the larger the town. I'd rather shop here than in Killeen, which is three times the size of us," said Cove resident Rachael Reeves. "Young people are bound to do stupid things. It doesn't really bother me."
The idea of schoolkids being out for the summer and having nothing better to do than scare the townsfolk and waste law enforcement's time isn't that far fetched, but the timing of the threats would well serve someone interested in comparing responses on different days and at different times.
The first two threats occurred on consecutive nights, Thursday and Friday, both at 8 pm. The third call was made the following Friday at 9 am. The fourth came the following Tuesday at 11 am. The next day (yesterday), the fifth threat was made some time around 7 am.
Yesterday morning's call may have been the perpetrator's (or one of the perpetrator's) prompt undoing as police announced they had taken a 29-year-old man into custody late yesterday, in connection with the two most recent threats. No other details seem to be available, but the local NBC affiliate [video] noted that the store has been receiving repeated bomb threats, not just for the last two weeks, but over the past year.
Handcrafted by Flip on June 21, 2007 |
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Tracked on Apr 10, 2008 8:14:54 AM