Employees at a rural Missouri Walmart were alarmed when some male Muslim migrants stormed their store at approximately 3:50 a.m. on Saturday morning, swiftly buying up a massive stock of one concerning item. The unusual purchase immediately set off alerts, bringing a swarm of police officers to the location for a legitimate reason.
The store, located in the small town of Lebanon, Missouri, isn’t used to seeing such a strange purchase all at once. Store management wasn’t afraid to profile the purchasers for the items that they were buying, and it’s a good thing that they reported it. The fact that it took place at a strange early morning hour, only added to the issue of the buyers being new to the area as part of the onslaught of Middle Eastern refugees.
According to Laclede County Sheriff Wayne Merritt, his department was quickly called to the store in the early morning hours, when two middle eastern men came into the store and purchased 60 disposable cell phones in one single purchase. Employees were concerned because the men spoke little to no English and had never been seen in that small town store before. There were two additional visual indicators that didn’t sit well with the store employees.
Police officers arrived before the men left the premises with their large stock of throwaway/untraceable phones, and they detained them for questioning. Sheriff Merritt said that what’s particularly concerning about these phones that the immigrants purchased, is that they are untraceable. They can be used for communicating with potential terrorists and can easily be rigged to remotely detonate explosive devices. There’s also the glaring question of how “struggling” migrants would be able to make such a large purchase.
The suspects were later released without any ramification, due to insufficient legal reasons to keep them. But the reaction by the officers hasn’t come without the need for them to defend their response, for those insisting on calling them out for profiling. How they treated the situation was warranted, regardless of race or religion.
“I’m not going to say just because they’re different religion or because they’re Muslim, but these people were foreign speaking, then you need to take notice and you need to let us know about it because it doesn’t hurt to check on it,” Sheriff Merritt said in defense of his department.
They did what the San Bernardino police should have done — if the terrorists’ neighbors reported what they saw, rather than being concerned about profiling. “You’re not being racist or anything like that. You’re just protecting yourself,” the sheriff added.
The local police department informed the FBI of this occurrence, which is hopefully being taken as a priority, so we can prevent another avoidable attack by placing safety over political correctness. Perhaps a more calculated approach would be to have discreetly tracked these suspects to the location where they were taking their sixty disposable phones (potential terrorist devices) and monitored their activities from there. We can only hope that they’re being watched now that Walmart employees put them on the radar, rather than waiting until an attack takes place to put the pieces together.