Police are trying to identify the suspect who likely orchestrated an evacuation to cover up a shoplifting Friday at the Walmart in southeast Fresno.
Lt. Joe Gomez said a suspicious device left on a shelf in the auto parts section in the Walmart on Kings Canyon Road caused panic that led police to evacuate customers and employees around 2:40 p.m.
Gomez said the police bomb squad determined that the stainless steel canister inside a white box wrapped in blue tape was not a credible explosive device.
Gomez said the stunt was likely done to cause fear among shoppers. In security video reviewed by investigators, a person among a fleeing crowd was seen wheeling out a cart filled with store merchandise.
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Gomez said it is possible the unidentified person placed the suspicious device as a ruse.