Threat Prompts Increased Security At Walmart

Posted at: 01/22/2013 6:43 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- People shopping at Walmart in Austin may have recently noticed a stepped up police presence.

It was a sign that, in light of recent national events, no one’s taking chances with threats of violence.

In the case of the Austin Walmart, it started when a disgruntled 64 year old former employee of the store allegedly threatened a company employee in Oklahoma during a phone call.

"As well as making a comment of going to get a gun and go to the store in Austin and kill people in the store in Austin," added Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger.

Walmart reported the threats police.

"We had information that we perceived as a potential threat, and worked with the Austin police department for their expertise on handling the situation," Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling told us from the company’s headquarters in Arkansas.

“At that time Walmart inquired if it would be possible to have a full-time police officer for additional security to their store," said Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger.

"We take the safety of our customers and associates very seriously," added Walmart’s Kayla Whaling.

"We did advise them that was possible, that they would need to pay for those services," said police chief Brian Krueger. “They asked for 72 hours of security with armed police officers just inside the door or just outside the store."

The first uniformed officer went on duty at the Austin Wal-mart store at four o'clock last Thursday afternoon.

"The city of Austin will bill them directly to cover the officer's time," police chief Brian Krueger explained.

About three-fourths of the time was covered by officers called-in to cover the extra duty.

"Probably a quarter of the time we had enough officers to have the extra coverage out there," Chief Brian Krueger told us.

“Any time there is a potential threat we will work with local law enforcement to insure the safety of everyone in our store," added Walmart’s Kayla Whaling.

"In my opinion they made a good call,” Austin police chief Brian Krueger said. “Based on the information they had received and due to recent events I think they wanted to protect their store as well as their customers."

The woman who allegedly made the threats now lives in Burnsville. it will be up to authorities there to decide what charges to file, if any.