PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities are investigating after a bomb threat to a Paw Paw Rite Aid Thursday.
The threat to the pharmacy in the area of E. Michigan Avenue and N. LaGrave Street was called in after 2 .m., according to Paw Paw Police Department Det. Cpl. Eric Rottman.
Rottman said a man described as having a foreign accent called the store and asked for the manager. He instructed that money be loaded onto a Green Dot prepaid money card or he would blow up the building. The manager hung up on the man and called police.
The strip mall in which the Rite Aid is located was evacuated.
Authorities searched the building and roof. Paw Paw officers and Michigan State Police were using K-9s in their investigation.
They later determined there was no threat and the strip mall reopened.
In the last several days, similar bomb threats have been made at several stores, including Rite Aids, all over the country, spokeswoman for the pharmacy told 24 Hour News 8.
Rite Aid said in a statement that the threats are part of an effort to extort money from the retailers. In each of the incidents, according to spokeswoman Ashley Flower, a caller will tell someone at a store to activate a Green Dot card. If the store refuses, the caller makes a bomb threat.
“While we have no reason to believe these threats are credible, the safety of our associates and customers is our top priority, and we take these threats very seriously. We are cooperating and working closely with the local authorities to respond appropriately to and investigate the situation,” Flower wrote in a statement.
There have been similar incidents at seven Michigan Rite Aids (including the one in Paw Paw) this week, multiple published reports indicate and Rite Aid confirmed:
Monday, it happened Bridgeman. Tuesday, it happened in North Muskegon, Ludington, Grand Traverse and Kalamazoo. There was also a similar incident Thursday in Greenville.