Bomb threat brings shopping to a halt

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Holiday shoppers at Wal-Mart were forced to evacuate the building when a suspect called in a bomb threat on Saturday night, according to Greenville police and Wal-Mart officials.

At approximately 7:15 p.m. Greenville police reports state that a male phoned Wal-Mart and asked a store clerk for a video game cheat code. When the clerk refused, the caller stated he had &#8220C-4 explosives planted throughout the building.” The caller also said he had an assault rifle, was located outside Wal-Mart, and would start shooting at anyone who exited the building.

The store clerk said the caller sounded like a young, white male.

Store patrons were evacuated as Greenville police searched the building for explosives. The department's special response team was also put on standby.

No explosives were found.

Police said they would attempt to trace the phone number and find out just who exactly made the false report.

&#8220We think it may have been a cell phone number through Verizon,” said Sgt. Justin Lovvorn. &#8220We're working with CenturyTel to determine who called in (to Wal-Mart) between those times.”

Lovvorn said besides stating that explosives were inside Wal-Mart, the caller also made some dubious comments such as there being &#8220snakes on the roof.”

Store manager Bill McCrary said if the suspect is found Wal-Mart would prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

&#8220Regardless of who did it - whether or not they thought it was a joke - if they are apprehended we will press charges,” said McCrary. &#8220You have to take something like this seriously.”

McCrary said the store was evacuated for an estimated hour and 30 minutes. The prank phone call also came during one of the store's busiest periods of the day.

&#82207:30 (p.m.) on Saturday night is a busy time,” said McCrary. &#8220And it's hard to get people to come back in after something like that.”

The suspected caller faces a charge of falsely reporting an incident, a Class C felony which carries anywhere from one to 10 years in prison, said Lt. Randy Courtney.