The Greenville Police Department evacuated the Greenville Wal-Mart late Thursday night due to a bomb threat, city officials said.
No injuries were reported, and a bomb sweep came back clean, according to city of Greenville Public Relations Liaison Autumn Barton. Barton said the decision to evacuate the building is one made by the Wal-Mart manager, not the Greenville Police Department.
Brad Powers was shopping at Wal-Mart when he was told to leave by a manager.
“I was trying to buy ribs for my friend’s barbecue this weekend when one of the managers approached me and my friend Brian and told us we had to evacuate the store,” he said. “People started running, so we ran as well. We got in my truck and didn’t stop to look at what was going on. Upon leaving, there were police blocking off the parking lot and fire trucks approaching from Traders Road.”
Powers said that he and his friend were not told what was going on, and the police showed up just as they exited the building. He said the customers left in an orderly, but quick, fashion.
“The police were just starting to enter the store as we left,” he said. “The employees looked pretty scared as they were telling us to leave.”
Police checked nearby vehicles and Wal-Mart remained closed as of press time. Police are investigating the origin of the bomb threat tip. The store began to be evacuated around 10 p.m.
Richard White, a stocker, and George Nolder, with the floor crew, were among a group of Wal-Mart employees who were scheduled to go to work at 10 and 11 p.m., but who instead gathered on the adjacent parking lot of Payless Shoes.
“I’ve been here 10 years and this is my third one,” White said of the evacuation procedure.
“This is my second and I’ve been here five years,” Nolder said.
White noted it is standard procedure to move the employees out of the store upon receiving a threat.
“This is the first time they’ve closed off the parking lot,” White explained. “I’ve never seen them shut down the parking lot.”