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False bomb threats devour hours for Livonia Police

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(The Center Square) – Walmarts in Livonia have received at least four false bomb threats over the last two months, each which often devour hours that could have been spent protecting and serving other residents.

In some cases, police officers from multiple departments respond with K9 dogs to clearing the grounds because of a false threat, often called in from a blocked number or from an internet address that can’t be easily traced.

On Dec. 23, a 911 call was made by someone to a Livonia Walmart at 4:30 p.m.. A police report obtained through records requests says a minor called in the threat so a friend wouldn’t publish his mother’s cell phone number on the internet.

Walmart hasn’t responded to a request for comment but has pursued charges over some of the calls.

On Dec. 28 at 3:38 p.m., Livonia police were dispatched to the Plymouth Target for a retail fraud call for a group of six to eight girls stealing, who then appeared to try to steal from Walmart as well and then caused a disturbance at nearby C&C Nails, the police report says.

While responding to the retail theft call, Livonia officers arrived on site at Walmart evacuating because of a a bomb threat called in by unavailable number.

Police from Novi, Bloomfield Township, Ann Arbor and Southfield responded to the incident.

On Nov. 20 at 6:29 PM, Livonia police received a report of a bomb threat at a Livonia Walmart on Plymouth Road relayed through an online chat from the National Suicide Hotline that claimed to put a timed detonator on a “pressure cooker bomb.”

The individual claimed to have planted a bomb set to detonate in 20 minutes and no longer wanted it to go off but was too far away to stop it.

Police searched 13 aisles, the entire store exterior, and all the bathrooms but found nothing of concern.

The message’s IP address returned near Atlanta, Georgia.

When police respond to a call, it could be a traffic crash, crisis intervention, or a homicide. Every time a bomb threat is reported, it can take about three hours to clear a Walmart supercenter that’s roughly 182,000 square feet counting bathrooms, the parking lot, employee interviews, and reviewing camera footage.

In 2021, the Livonia Police Department received 40,899 service calls and 49,586 in 2022.

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