Dec 4, 2013 11:18 PM by Rebecca Taylor
TUCSON - Telephone bomb threats involving prepaid Visa cards. It's a new trend being reported throughout the country, and right here in Pima County.
At least a half dozen stores in the past couple weeks have been the target. Including two separate CVS Pharmacies in Tucson Wednesday afternoon. One at Alvernon and 5th, the other at Speedway and Alvernon.
The caller demands Green Dot Cards be activated and loaded with cash, or a bomb would go off. Wednesday's threats are being called a hoax.
Two CVS stores within blocks each other, customers employees were evacuated mid-afternoon, until authorities gave the all clear. No explosive devices were found.
"We live in the neighborhood, we come to the store all the time, so that's not good for our kids or family we bring to the store," says a concerned neighbor.
On November 14th, a similar threat occurred at the CVS located at Grant and Park. Tucson Police say a CVS employee called 911 saying he was on another phone, with a man who said he planted three bombs in the store. The person threatened to blow up it up, unless an undisclosed amount of money was loaded on a Green Dot Card.
Why this specific card? Likely because they're not associated with any bank, they're bought with cash and are untraceable.
According to the Green Dot website they're sold in 55,000 drug and retail stores nationwide.
"They're coming up with different ideas, on how to do malicious things, it's just crazy," says a CVS shopper.
A college student adds, "I think it's childish. People need to grow up, there's so much going on now days in the world."
In a statement emailed to News 4 Tucson, CVS spokesperson Michael DeAngelis says, "Our stores are directed to contact local police if a threat is received and evacuate the building as a matter of precaution. Federal authorities have also been made aware of this ongoing scam."
The FBI in Atlanta recently posted an alert warning consumers of such scams.
That's because in places other than Pima County a store clerk has fallen victim to the hoax, and complied, giving the suspect instant access to money by reading aloud the card number.
To date no explosive devices have been found anywhere in the county, linked to this type of threat according to the FBI.
Tucson Police and the Pima County Sheriff's bomb squad are working together with store owners and the FBI to find those responsible. If you have any information call 911 or 88-CRIME.