Customers were evacuated from the North Atherton Street Walmart on Thursday afternoon for a bomb threat that turned out to be a hoax.
For about two hours, from roughly 12:45 to 2:45 p.m., Walmart employees steadfastly guarded the doors while bomb detection dogs from Penn State University Police scoured the inside of the store. Employees apologetically turned away customers, explaining the store was \”temporarily closed,\” sometimes citing public safety concerns.
Patton Township Police Sgt. Tyler Jolley says the call came into the Walmart at about 12:30 p.m. from an anonymous male caller, prompting the evacuation and subsequent search.
\”There was no indication of any kind of explosive material in the store,\” Jolley says.
Walmart shopper Vonda Reese says was at a self-checkout lane, nearly finished with her purchase, when a cashier came up and asked her to leave the store.
\”They said \’just grab your purse and leave now,\’\” Reese says. \”They didn\’t say anything over the speaker, and I didn\’t smell any noxious fumes or see anything out of the ordinary.\”
Fellow shopper Whitney Stahly says she wasn\’t told anything about the reasons for the evacuation except that it was for \”emergency purposes,\” but adds that employees were calm and the evacuation was \”pretty organized.\”
Employees of the outlets inside the store, who did not want to be identified, say they also weren\’t told anything when being asked to leave the store. Walmart employees declined to comment.
Sgt. Jolley says the investigation into the fake threat is ongoing.
Some customers waited outside the store while police searched for the alleged bomb. Photo by Michael Martin Garrett/StateCollege.com