Originally Published: August 29, 2007 7:17 a.m.
The Hutchinson News in Kansas reported a similar bomb scare situation at a Dillons supermarket in a story by crime reporter Darcy Gray.
Emergency Response Team members and K-9 units thoroughly searched Dillons and adjoining businesses on Tuesday at approximately 11:30 a.m. central time. All 140 people who were inside the building at the time were allowed to leave, according to local law enforcement officials, and no one was hurt in the incident.
Customers and employees trapped inside the store report that a Dillons manager answered a phoned-in bomb threat and that the caller seemed to have visual access to the store and was giving specific commands to the hostages. He threatened to cut off the manager's fingers, one for every hour. He also ordered no cell phones be used.
Those inside the store said they never saw a suspect, but knew that orders were being relayed through the manager. Employees and customers were corralled to the front of the Dillons store, near the customer service area, according to witnesses.
Police also confirmed that the caller demanded that authorities send a large amount of money to an account in Europe, but officials did not offer specifics about the terms of the caller's demands.
At one point, the caller ordered all women to disrobe, then 20 minutes later, ordered the men to disrobe. ERT members secured the building, but officers did not say whether they captured or arrested anyone in connection with the incident. Speculation suggests that the caller may have accessed the store's security system over the Internet.
Kathy Hanks, reporter for The Hutchinson News, said that she heard of another incident at Kings Point, N.Y., Tuesday where hostages were taken in a major grocery store. According to Nassau County public relations officers, the situation turned out to be a training exercise.