CUMMING, Ga. — Cumming Police had four bomb threats in two locations to deal with in less than a week’s time, according to incident reports.
Sgt. Bryan Zimbardi said it wasn’t clear if the threats were related.
At 6:30 p.m. March 11, a Walmart employee, 1500 Market Place Boulevard, told officers she and another employee each received a phone call from a man telling them there was a bomb planted in the store.
Officers and members of the Forsyth County Fire Department searched the store and didn’t find explosives or anything suspicious.
Once officers decided the call was a hoax, they looked up the phone records for the number used to call in the threat. The number traced back to a Borders bookstore in Red Oak, Texas and has several complaints listed against it.
Hoax or not, every bomb threat is treated the same, Zimbardi said.
“Police are required to respond to every bomb threat,” Zimbardi said.
After the situation is assessed or if something suspicious is found, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation or the Federal Bureau of Investigation is called in to proceed.
At 10:30 p.m. March 16, officers were dispatched to the Willows of Cumming apartment complex, 225 Nancy Lane, in reference to another bomb threat.
The person who called in the threat told officers the device would be in a black box underneath the slides on the playground. Officers canvassed the playground and surrounding areas of the complex, but didn’t find a bomb.
The caller then said the bomb was buried under the slide, officers checked the area again, but could tell the ground had not been dug up.
The caller threatened the officers, telling them he and his friends were in the woods with guns and preparing to ambush. Officers and two Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies searched the area, but didn’t find anyone.
When the officer returned to the police station, he received another phone call from the alleged bomber. The caller told him he wanted $80,000 or people would die. The officer told him he could offer him $50,000, but he would need to come to the station to pick up the money. The caller hung up.
At 6:30 p.m. March 17, the Cumming Police Department received another call from the same man from the night before claiming he had a bomb, but wouldn’t disclose a location.
Officers checked the Willows apartment complex again, but didn’t find anything suspicious.
The same man again called officers at 8:15 p.m. and told officers, “him and his buddy had an M4 and were ready to go to war.”
At 8:20 p.m. also on March 17, another bomb threat was called to Walmart. The store manager told officers she received a call saying there were four bombs in the store.
Officers and employees searched the store and didn’t find anything suspicious. The store manager told officers many Walmart stores along the East Coast are getting similar threats.
“We’ve received threats in the past that were a lot more credible,” Zimbardi said. “These two were on the low end of that.”