Hoax bomb threat at Quitman grocery store - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Hoax bomb threat at Quitman grocery store

QUITMAN, GA (WALB) -

A Quitman grocery store is back in operation tonight after a bomb threat closed the store this morning.

Multiple agencies responded to the threat, including the GBI bomb squad.

Yellow police tape and emergency responders blocked all sides of Stan's Grocery Store in Quitman this morning. Around 9 a.m. someone called 911 saying a bomb was going to go off inside the store within ten minutes.

"No matter what we think, we take it as a real threat," said Quitman Police Chief, Wesley Ross.  

The store was evacuated for an hour and a half while the GBI bomb squad and a bomb sniffing dog from Valdosta searched the building. Shortly after, officials determined there was no bomb and the phone call was a hoax.

"It's always an inconvenience when you have to pull off something else you're doing, but that's why we're here, to work together," said Capt. Joe Wheeler, Brooks Co. Sheriff's Dept.

"It takes a lot of manpower away from the other crimes that we need to be doing and looking at and investigating," said Ross.

Chief Ross says he's always wary that a prank caller may have intentions of distracting law enforcement with a hoax to commit another crime.

"Every time it's called in that's what we think about. We always cover our bases. We make sure that we notify all the local businesses we can just so that if it is a hoax it can draw us away from them," said Ross.

Ross says it's unfortunate that citizen's tax dollars have to go towards investigating a hoax.

"I'm a tax payer and it upsets me."

Quitman Fire Chief Clay Phillips said,"The severity of calling in a bomb threat, you put not only the citizens in danger, you put the public safety in danger."

Police say about 30 law officials responded to the scene today.

Investigators say they hope to track the 911 phone call back to the prank caller.

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