“There’s a bomb in Sunrise. This is no joke,” a voice on the other end of the phone told Tammy Hartsell, manager of Sunrise Grill in Locust, soon after opening.
According to Hartsell, she immediately evacuated everyone from the breakfast spot on West Main Street, and contacted the authorities.
“We were out there for two hours, and they had to bring the dogs in,” Hartsell said.
Asked if she recognized the voice or if they identified themselves in any way, she said, “We don’t know who it was. They don’t know yet, they’re investigating it.”
She said the police may have a theory, but she can’t discuss that while the investigation is ongoing.
“We lost everything today,” Hartsell said. “We were just outside cold and wet. We’re going to open tomorrow though. We have loyal customers. They’ll be back.”
A press release by the Locust Police Department confirmed the incident, saying they received the call at 8:50 a.m. and determined at 10:25 a.m that the location was “safe and free of any type of bomb.”
The release also said that the LPD is investigating and that, “If the individual is located, ALL applicable charges will be evaluated and pursued.”
Officials with the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, Stanly County EMS, Stanly County Sheriff’s Office and West Stanly Fire Department also participated in the response.
Locust Police Department Assistant Chief Jeff B. Shew told SCJ that anytime they receive a call like this, they will respond immediately, “treating it like a serious threat.”
“We used a response protocol so other agencies could assist,” Shew said, specifically citing Cabarrus County’s bomb unit and bomb-sniffing dog resources that helped during the incident.
In terms of finding out the source of the call, Shew said they are “still in the initial stages of investigation.”
“We want people to understand that they can’t call and claim things like that without there being some consequences,” Shew said.
Shew said his message to anyone who is thinking of making a call like this is, “Any applicable consequence, they’re going to face that. That’s the best way we know to send a message. Even if you’re just conducting a prank or joking around, we’re not happy about something like that.”
Although he said he can’t remember something like this happening before in Locust, there is a pretty standard protocol, and they were able to apply it quickly.