Investigators are trying to track down the source of an automated bomb threat made to eleven Maine Walmarts over the weekend.
On Saturday night, calls were made to police departments and dispatch centers. The automated message included the address of the closest Walmart location, and included a bomb threat. Affected stores included Biddeford, Falmouth, Houlton, Scarborough, and Windham Walmarts.
Several of the Walmarts evacuated and temporarily closed as police investigated. While there was no actual threat, local, state, and federal investigators are working to find the person and people responsible.
"The calls were from outside of Maine, or possibly outside the country," said Maine Department of Public Safety Spokesman Steve McCausland.
Walmart spokesman Brian Nick said the retailer receives bomb threats regularly, but they are taken seriously. Nick said there had been other bomb threats made to stores in other parts of the country over the holiday weekend, but it does not appear that the automated message went to any stores outside of Maine.
"This is the first time we have experienced anything like this," said Lt. John Kilbride, a Falmouth detective.
Lt. Kilbride said the investigation will be a challenge because of the many layers of technology involved in an automated message like this one. "It's like peeling an onion: you get to one level, then you have to go to another level."