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PAGELAND - A Wal-Mart Distribution Center employee was arrested and charged last week with making a bomb threat against the business.
A woman’s need for attention spawned the May 15 phone call that halted work at one of Pageland’s largest employers for more than a hour, said Sheriff Sam Parker.
The Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office charged Jackie Jordan Barrett, 36, of 311 Old Georgetown Road, Kershaw, with conveying a bomb threat after she reportedly confessed to making the telephone call that shut down the facility.
Barrett faces a maximum 10-year sentence if convicted of the felony, Parker said.
Barrett, who did not identify herself to E-911 operators, called and said her brother, an employee of Wal-Mart Distribution Center, placed four bombs throughout the facility.
But the sibling didn’t exist, nor did the bombs, authorities say.
Criminal investigators interviewed 28 female Wal-Mart Distribution employees attempting to match their voices to the 911 call made from a pay phone at the Bi-Lo parking lot. Four of the voices were close matches, including Barrett’s, according to reports.
Barrett told deputies, who didn’t reveal where the phone call originated, that the recorded voice sounded like her mother, but she “did not have a reason to be in Pageland that early in the morning.”
Based on the number of bombs mentioned in the threat, deputies followed a hunch that the woman was also an employee. The threat mentioned four bombs, one in each of the distribution center’s sections.
When deputies pressed further, Barrett reportedly agreed to give a written confession.
“She said she wanted some attention; lately she was having a hard time,” Parker said.
Barrett told deputies that she found a note on her car instructing her to make the bomb threat, but threw the paper away. Deputies searched the area for the scrap of paper but turned up empty handed.
“My personal opinion, I don’t think the note was real,” Parker said. “We never saw it. We never found it.”
Pageland police and Chesterfield County law officers searched Bi-Lo and the Wal-Mart Distribution Center property with a bomb dog after the threat was called in, but no explosives were detected.
Eight deputies initially responded to the scene.
“With false calls, this ties up law enforcement for others,” Parker said. “Chesterfield County isn’t blessed to have a lot of law enforcement.”
Distribution center supervisors participated in the search, looking for anything suspicious inside.