January 28

Bomb threat shuts down Skowhegan Walmart

Customers were evacuated as police blocked and surrounded the building, but a Maine State Police dog found no trace of a bomb.

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

SKOWHEGAN — Customers and employees were evacuated from the Walmart at Fairgrounds Market Place Tuesday afternoon following a report of a bomb threat at the store.

click image to enlarge

SEARCH: A police officer and a dog enter the Walmart store in Skowhegan shortly after a bomb threat was made on Tuesday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

click image to enlarge

TEMPORARILY CLOSED: Shoppers in vehicles are blocked by police cruisers from entering the Walmart parking lot in Skowhegan as police search the building after a reported bomb threat on Tuesday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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A Maine State Police bomb-sniffing dog was dispatched to the scene and, with its handler, checked out all the bathrooms, but no bomb was found.

Police said a male caller with a young-sounding voice called the store at about 2:05 p.m., saying there was a bomb in one of the men’s rooms, Skowhegan Police Chief Ted Blais said.

Police closed off parking lot entrances and exits with patrol cars, an ambulance and a fire truck — no one was allowed in or out of the area. Neighboring Hannaford supermarket remained open and was not evacuated.

He said police are trying to track the telephone number to determine the origin of the call.

Donna Tenney of Skowhegan said she was inside the store shopping when store workers began rushing people out.

“The clerks started coming up and telling people that they needed to leave the store — they didn’t announce it,” Tenny said, as she waited in her car outside. “They just told everybody to leave and said we had to get away from the building so I came to my car and I’m waiting. I live too far way to come back again.”

Police later asked anyone in vehicles near the store to move their vehicles to parking lots farther away from the store as a precaution.

Blais said the store reopened just after 3:30 p.m. and employees returned to work.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367dharlow@centralmaine.comTwitter: @Doug_Harlow

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