Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern grocer Harris Teeter has confirmed published reports of bomb threats on Monday at multiple stores in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.
The anonymous bomb threats began around 12:30 p.m. on Monday in Durham at the Harris Teeter store on 1125 West NC 54 Highway and then spread to five more of the chain’s Triangle-area locations, all of which were evacuated, The News & Observer reported. Raleigh and Durham police determined the threats weren’t credible and cleared the stores to resume operating, the newspaper said.
Local law enforcement are actively investigating the incidents, according to Matthews, North Carolina-based Harris Teeter.
“We can confirm there was suspicious activity at locations in the Raleigh-Durham area. The safety and well-being of our valued associates and customers is our top priority. Our knowledgeable associates are well-versed in handling such situations and followed direction of local law enforcement,” a Harris Teeter spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. “At this time, our stores are open and safe to shop.”
Made via phone from a blocked number, the bomb threats involved an individual saying an explosive device was inside the store and then demanding money, according to The News & Observer. The other five Harris Teeter stores receiving threats, the newspaper said, included locations at 1501 Horton Road in Durham; 9600 and 6024 Falls of the Neuse Road in Raleigh; 14520 John Rex Boulevard in Raleigh; and 2051 West Millbrook Road in Raleigh.
Part of The Kroger Co., Harris Teeter operates 258 stores and 60 fuel centers in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Delaware, Florida and the District of Columbia.
The Harris Teeter spokesperson noted in the email that the bomb threats reflected a nationwide crime trend experienced by many retailers.
Indeed, a Google search of “bomb threats against retail stores” by Winsight Grocery Business yielded a host of published reports of bomb threat incidents in recent months at supermarkets, including such banners as Kroger, Smith’s, Pick ’n Save, Harps, Brookshire’s, Whole Foods Market and Homeland. Mass merchants Target and Walmart also reportedly received bomb threats over that time span, with Walmart experiencing such incidents in regions around the country.