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Utah bomb threats may have been scams, FBI investigating

Published September 18, 2013 1:41 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Police departments in Utah say the FBI is looking into multi-state bomb threats that flooded mostly Walmart and Walgreen locations Wednesday afternoon.

About 1 p.m. Wednesday, several bomb threats were reported in Utah stores, including a Walgreens and Rite Aid in Provo, a Logan Walmart and an Ogden Walmart.

But police believe the threats may have been a scam to try and get employees to load gift cards with money.

Logan Chief Gary Jensen said the Walmart located at 1150 S. 100 West received a threat about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday.

"It was a phone threat, a male voice demanding money be loaded on gift cards," Jensen said. "The gift card numbers [would be] given to this person or they would detonate a bomb."

Jensen said Logan's Walmart was evacuated for about two hours as police scoured the store. Nothing was found.

Jensen said similar reports have been received nationwide with a very similar request.

"We feel relatively certain that this is a scam," he said. "To our notion, this is not a legitimate threat."

The Walgreens near 1300 N. State St. in Provo received a bomb threat over the phone about 12:17 p.m., said Provo police Lt. Mathew Siufanua. Twelve minutes later, the Rite Aid across the street received the same threat from what sounds like the same person, Siufanua said.

By 1:38 p.m., the bomb squad cleared both buildings and found no suspicious packages.

Ogden Police Lt. Danielle Croyle said that the Walmart located at 1945 Wall Ave., also received a bomb threat Wednesday afternoon. She said the store was not evacuated, but police officers looked through the building with store managers and saw nothing suspicious.

FBI Special Agent Todd Palmer said Wednesday afternoon that they are not actively involved in the bomb threats, but are "monitoring the situation."

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mikeypanda