Wal-Mart Bomb Scare Suspect Could Face Federal Terror Charges - Southern Maryland Headline News

Wal-Mart Bomb Scare Suspect Could Face Federal Terror Charges

By Guy Leonard, County Times

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (Feb. 26, 2009)—A woman arrested by local detectives for allegedly making eight bomb threats to the local Wal-Mart Superstore in California may face federal charges, according to the leader of the county’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations.

“We’ve been in contact with the FBI,” Capt. Rick Burris said Monday. “They would take over our case and pursue it federally.

“There could be domestic terror related charges pending.”

Detectives arrested Chantel Denise Cook, 32, of Lusby Saturday after the eighth bomb threat was called in at Wal-Mart that same day, according to police.

St. Mary’s detectives executed a search warrant on Cook’s home using the agency’s tactical team after detectives searched over phone records and other evidence throughout the weekend in an effort to track down a suspect, Burris told The County Times.

“It’s a lot more difficult than people realize,” Burris said of the effort to track down Cook. “You’ve got to build up a case that’ll stand up in court.”

BCI detectives pushed themselves to get enough evidence to make an arrest, Burris said.

“It put a drain on our resources significantly,” Burris said of the investigation into the Wal-Mart employee. “We worked round the clock on Friday and Saturday to wrap it up.”

Cook allegedly made some of the calls that cleared out the store while she was working, Burris said, adding that the events at Wal-Mart, which played out over less than two weeks, appeared to be an isolated incident.

And while he did not expect the same problems to appear at other stores here, he was concerned that someone might try to repeat Cook’s alleged crime.

“We’re always worried about that, copycats,” Burris said. “We hope that the message is clear… that we’ll prosecute [these cases] to the fullest extent of the law.”

Cook, who is also known by the name of Chantel Katika Walker, was charged with eight counts of making a false statement of a destructive device; each charge carries a possible 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Cook remains in custody in the county detention center.

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