Couple accused of threatening to bomb Walmart

Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 12:11 PM CDT
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BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - A couple is behind bars after police said they threatened to “blow up” a Walmart store.

A judge found probable cause to charge Jonathan Conway and Stephanie Carroll with making a terroristic threat.

According to court documents, an anonymous caller phoned the Batesville Walmart Supercenter on June 20 and asked an employee, “Have you been working hard?”

The employee told investigators when she replied in the affirmative, the male caller said, “Good, because I’m about to blow the store up,” and hung up.

According to the affidavit, store managers then evacuated all employees and customers.

While investigating the threat, an employee said a couple and their children had been in the store prior to the call and “tried to walk out of the store without paying” for their items.

The employee said while helping the man and his son at the self-checkout she noticed his wife and children in a different self-checkout line “scanning items with tampered barcodes.”

When asked what she was doing, the employee said the woman “made the comment that her husband would be irritated that it was taking so long.”

“The female did not seem aggressive and acted clueless about the stuff not ringing up,” the affidavit stated. “After the female left the store, approximately 10 or 15 minutes later is when the bomb threat was called in.”

Detectives contacted AT&T to get information on the person who had made the call.

“AT&T stated that they could get the information, even if the phone number was blocked,” the report stated.

On Wednesday, June 29, AT&T provided investigators the cellphone number and the name it was associated with, Stephanie Carroll.

Detectives checked with Carroll’s parole officer who confirmed that was her number, the report stated.

A search warrant later confirmed the bomb threat was made at 7:38 p.m. from Carroll’s phone.

After receiving the information, Detective Brenda Bittle then contacted the store’s loss prevention manager to see if either Conway or Carroll had worked at the store. According to the affidavit, they had not.

The detective then asked him to review the surveillance video taken that night.

Later that day, the loss prevention manager called Bittle and said he recognized Conway and Carroll as the ones who had “caused the problem” in the self-checkout line, adding that Carroll had tried to walk out with $500 worth of items before an employee stopped her.

After ringing up her items, the video showed Carroll walk out and get into a truck Conway was driving.

“The truck pulls out into the parking lot and sits for a long period of time and then leaves,” the affidavit stated.

According to the court records, the couple owes Walmart $46,489.23 in lost product.

Carroll and Conway are both being held in the Independence County Detention Center in lieu of $150,000 and $200,000 bonds, respectively.

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