A recent bomb threat, which forced the evacuation of the Walmart store in Woodland Park on Friday evening, may be part of an out of-state prank, targeting a wide range of stores in Colorado and nearby states.
Although no charges have been filed, law enforcement authorities believe the suspects in the Woodland Park scare are a group of boys from central Pennsylvania.
According to news reports, three boys have been identified as the suspects who telephoned in a bomb threat at the Walmart store on Highway 24 in Woodland Park. The Woodland Park Police Department, through their dispatch center and with the assistance of Verizon Wireless, traced the bomb threat call to Pennsylvania. The Woodland police contacted the Harrison Township Police Department in Pennsylvania and they responded to an address in Natrona Heights. The Woodland Park Police say the Harrison Police Department played a key role in the investigation.
According to the WP Police, a 15-year-old boy admitting to making the prank calls, along with two of his juvenile friends. The boy admitted that he and his friends called the Walmart in Woodland and made the bomb threat. The police say no charges have been filed and the case remains open, pending a further investigation by the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
According to an earlier press release, the Walmart store in Woodland Park was evacuated when a bomb threat was called into the store around 10:40 p.m. on the evening of March 15. Store employees, as part of standard procedure, contacted the Woodland Park Police. An investigation was initiated and the store was evacuated. A search then was pursued for suspicious devices by Walmart employees, the Woodland Park Police and an explosive-detective dog from Ft. Carson. After the search turned out negative, the store reopened around 2 a.m. on March 16.
But apparently, the Woodland Park incident was just one of several bomb calls to Walmart stores in three states over the weekend.
According to KKTV news, the Walmart on Platte and Chelton in Colorado Springs was also closed for several hours while the bomb squad and police canines searched for anything suspicious. They found nothing suspicious.
Bomb threats were also reported Saturday afternoon at Walmart stores in Commerce City, Colo., Great Bend and Salina, Kansas, and stores in Oklahoma. It still hasn’t been determined if a connection exists between these threats, according to authorities.
The bomb threats have created an uneasy feeling among regular Walmart shoppers. But at the same time, shoppers are happy that store officials are following detailed procedures in investigating bomb threats. This isn’t the first time business at the Woodland Park Walmart has been interrupted by a bomb threat. A bomb threat occurred at the Woodland Walmart around the Thanksgiving weekend of 2011 during “Black Friday.” That one shut down the Walmart outlet for several hours during a prime shopping period and cost the store an estimated thousands of dollars, according to Walmart employees. The Teller County Hazmat Team and bomb detecting experts were summoned from Colorado Springs.
No suspects were named in the earlier case.