A current bad trend in the nation made its way to Jacksonville over the weekend. On Saturday at approximately 3:30PM, police were dispatched to the Jacksonville Wal-Mart Supercenter at 1941 West Morton Avenue for a possible bomb threat. Upon arrival, Wal-Mart employees had already evacuated customers from the store to a grassy knoll well out of range of the store. Store employees also forbid particular customers from going to their cars that were too close to the building, fearing it would set off any explosives inside.
Officers of the Jacksonville Police Department and Fire Department secured the exits to the buildings while law enforcement and Wal-Mart management conducted a sweep of the building. They also used video surveillance to check for suspicious activity. The store remained closed for nearly an hour until everything was deemed safe for business to begin as usual.
Wal-Mart employees reported that a heavy set, older white male riding a store-supplied motorized scooter approached two employees who were on their break outside and said “There’s a bomb going off in fifteen minutes and you guys are on your phones, but that’s not my problem.” The suspect repeated himself and wheeled inside where employees lost sight of him and then notified management of the potential threat. The subject was later identified using video surveillance footage and photos were disseminated to the public. A call came in to the Jacksonville Police about four hours later which led to the arrest of 68 year old Thomas J. Biermann of rural Roodhouse. Biermann is currently in custody at the Morgan County Jail awaiting a bond hearing. Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputies were assisted by the Roodhouse Police and Greene County Sheriff in the apprehension of Biermann.