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Police in Statesville say four bomb threats at a local Walmart are part of a nationwide trend to extort money from businesses.
The first incident happened on Tuesday, January 7, just before 7 p.m.
Officials say an employee at the Walmart on Crossroads Drive received a call from a man who stated he had placed a bomb in the store. The caller told the employee he wanted $1,000 placed on two pre-paid cards, and the numbers to those cards.
Walmart staff then called for the evacuation of the store and contacted the Statesville Police Department.
The store's loss prevention team and Statesville Police Officers, as well as a private K-9 bomb detection team, searched the building and found nothing.
Over the next two days, Walmart received similar calls, with similar demands. The store was evacuated both times, and a K-9 bomb team called in.
Police also said a fourth threat was received by a Walmart in Charlotte Thursday evening.
Officials say the caller at the Statesville Walmart was a male who spoke broken English and had a foreign accent.
Anyone with information about these incidents or the caller is asked to call the Statesville Police Department at (704)878-3406, or Iredell Crimestoppers at (704)662-1340.