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Pharmacy bomb threats reported across Utah, nation

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18 2013 5:10 p.m. MDT

Police on Wednesday were investigating a series of reported bomb threats at pharmacies across Utah, and possibly the nation.

Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

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PROVO — A series of bomb threats at pharmacies across Utah, which may be tied to other threats nationwide, kept authorities on their toes Wednesday.

Provo police reported its bomb squad responded to bomb threats at a Rite-Aid, 1324 N. State, and at Walgreens, 1315 N. State. Both businesses were evacuated, but nothing was found.

Bomb threats were also reported at three Utah Wal-Mart stores: 1959 Wall Ave. in Ogden, 1356 E. state Route 193 in Layton, and 1150 S. 100 West in Logan. The Logan Wal-Mart was evacuated following the threat.

A bomb threat was also reported at the Pleasant Grove Walgreens store, 815 W. State.

Layton Police Lt. Shawn Horton said a man called the Layton Wal-Mart and demanded that the teller load up several prepaid cards.

"The male told her to take 16 of the prepaid MoneyPak and load a total of $8,000 onto those cards. He said he had a person waiting in the parking lot," Horton said.

The man claimed that if the employee didn't comply, the person in the parking lot would blow up the store within five minutes, Horton said.

The teller, who had heard about similar incidents already across Utah and the U.S., called police.

Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen said a man called the Logan Wal-Mart about 12:45 p.m. with a similar threat.

"There's been several of these same kinds of incidents going on across the state," Jensen said. "It even appears this is a nationwide issue."

The threat had to be taken seriously, he said, and the store was evacuated.

A store manager told Provo police that similar bomb threats have been reported by other stores in their chain in Virginia, Vermont, Maine and Georgia.

An FBI spokesman said the bureau's Salt Lake office was "not involved at this time" but said it was monitoring the situation. On Monday, however, the FBI in Atlanta reported that 10 retail stores in Savannah, Ga., had each received bomb threats over the phone.

"In each case, the caller asked to speak to the store manager, demanding that 10 Green Dot MoneyPak cards each be activated and loaded with $500 and that the card numbers be read aloud over the phone," said Special Agent in Charge Mark F. Giuliano.

"The caller threatened to blow up the stores if the managers did not comply and also threatened the store employees’ homes and families," he said in a statement. "The managers of all the stores described the caller as a male between 20 to 30 years of age and with a foreign accent. No manager complied with the demands, and no explosive devices were found."

The cards are reloadable and aren't associated with any bank, meaning the money is in the card, Giuliano said.

"Users of these Green Dot MoneyPak cards are reminded to never give anyone those numbers associated with those cards in that doing so gives them instant access to the money on those cards," he said.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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