By danny restivo
Police are investigating two bomb threats in the past four days at the Walmart on Belmont Avenue.
The most recent incident occurred Monday night when township officers were notified of a threatening call shortly after 10:30 p.m. According to reports, a male voice began asking for “Jennifer” and “Cathy” before hanging up. Police said a second phone call followed, and the same voice said there was a bomb in the store and everyone had to get out. Police said the man then made a third call to the electronics department and started yelling profanities and racial slurs. Officers said all three calls came up unlisted on the store’s caller identification.
Store employees were evacuated to a nearby parking lot while officers and store management walked through the store looking for anything suspicious, the report said. The managers told police that the store had been receiving harassing phone calls all weekend.
One of those calls occurred Friday afternoon when police responded to another bomb threat at the same location. That incident led to another evacuation before police cleared the store for personnel and shoppers to return.
Police Chief Richard Tisone said the decision to evacuate is always left to the business being threatened, but police said there was no suspicious evidence of an explosive device in either incident. Tisone said police are investigating the threats, and he believes the same person is behind both threats.
“We’re looking at a couple avenues right now, but no suspects have been identified,” said Tisone.
Tisone said the person behind the threats could be facing a felony count of inducing panic. According to Ohio law, any threat that results in economic harm of $1,000 or more but less than $7,500 is a fifth degree felony.
Tisone said he’s still trying to figure out a motive.
“It’s hard to say whether this is a disgruntled employee or someone who just doesn’t like the way Walmart operates,” he said.