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Video is key in Walmart bomb scare

Walmart in Detroit Lakes was evacuated for several hours Friday due to a bomb scare. DL NEWSPAPERS/Paula Quam

Authorities are still looking for the person responsible for the bomb scare that led to an evacuation of Walmart on Black Friday.

A bundle of store items were found wrapped up in a camouflage jacket secured with zip ties and left on a shelf in the store, prompting the Crow County Bomb squad and several other law enforcement agencies to respond to the suspicious package.

Detroit Lakes Police Department Sgt. Robert Strand says right now Walmart authorities are combing over their own surveillance video for evidence.

“It’s their (Walmart’s) own private security system, so we can’t just go in there and start looking at their stuff,” said Strand. “But when or if they find something, they’ll give us a call.”

Strand says if somebody is identified with the case, it’s possible they could get charged with attempting to conceal merchandise.

“But just because we suspected it could be a bomb, does that mean they’d get charged with anything (regarding the bomb scare), no.  The prosecutor would have to look at the reports and decide if there would be anything else they could charge them with,” said Strand.

While the suspicious package was found on a shelf, an employee picked it up and brought it to a Walmart supervisor, who told them to place it outside in the lobby area. 

Detroit Lakes Fire Chief Dave Baer says in a situation like this one, the employee who found the package did the wrong thing.

“When you find something like that, you want to leave it, don’t touch it, and evacuate immediately,” said Baer, who was also out at the scene Friday.

The store was evacuated for roughly five hours that evening, which was supposed to be the busiest shopping day of the year for the retailer.