Before dawn Wednesday morning, a man entered the Walmart in Palm Coast and told three employees they were standing so close together that if he threw a grenade, he could blow them all up, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office. Deputies said the man then began laughing loudly and went into the public restroom.
The Sheriff's Office arrived and established a perimeter, not allowing anyone to enter the shopping center. Deputies recommended that the store be evacuated, but management declined. Two Palm Coast Fire Department engines and a Flagler County rescue unit staged in the area.
Deputies located the man, identified by store loss-prevention staff as the person who made the threat and later identified as William Rudd Jr. When initially questioned, Rudd said he never made contact with any Walmart employees, and then changed his story and said he only intended his comment as a joke.
Flagler County's K-9 Unit arrived on scene with its bomb-sniffing dog, which detected no traces of explosive material in the areas where Rudd was standing or in the bathroom. The bomb-sniffing dog also searched Rudd’s vehicle but found nothing suspicious.
“We do not take threats lightly in Flagler County," Sheriff Staly wrote in a statement. "Obviously, Rudd made a very poor decision by threatening the safety of Walmart patrons and employees and he was promptly arrested."
Rudd was arrested and charged with threatening to throw a destructive device, a second-degree felony. He is currently being held in the Flagler County jail with no bond.