PATTERSON — Someone phoned the Dollar General store in Patterson during the noon hour Tuesday and threatened to blow up the building if the manager didn’t comply with his demands.
However, after searching, no devices were found, said the Patterson chief of police.
A male caller told the manager of the store he had planted explosive devices all over the store and that if he did not supply a ransom via Green Dot money cards the store would be blown up, said Police Chief Jason Strickland.
“I called the Camden County Sheriff’s Department and they brought their bomb-sniffing dogs,” said Strickland. “No bomb was found anywhere in the store.”
Strickland said he was pleased with how the shoppers responded when they were evacuated from the store.
“There were twenty-something people in the store,” he said. “It is a very busy place. We just asked them to evacuate the store and they left with no problem.” He said there was no panic and everyone responded well, “especially with what was going on. They didn’t know what was happening, we just told them we needed them to leave the store and they responded. I believe this was a scam but we have to take any kind of threat seriously. That’s what we did.”
Strickland said members of the Blackshear-Pierce County ACE (Accelerated Criminal Enforcement) Unit responded to the crisis.
At 12:35, Strickland said, the store manager received the call and contacted 911. Patterson police and Pierce County Sheriff’s officials were notified. Strickland responded and Sheriff Ramsey Bennett sent personnel.
“We evacuated the store and secured the scene,” said Strickland, adding that the store re-opened for business at 3 p.m. after the “all clear” was pronounced.
Strickland has been police chief at Patterson for five years. He is in his 21st year of law enforcement, having previously worked for agencies in Ware County and Camden County.