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Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister announces arrest after false threat was called into Gibsonton Walmart.
Arrested: Wayne Lee Padgett, 31, of Valrico, FL, Booking photo attached Charge: False report of using a firearm in a violent manner (Felony)
On August 4
, 2019 at 1:17 p.m., an employee at the Gibsonton Walmart received a phone call, the male on the line said he would be at the store in five minute and was going to "shoot up your store." Management immediately called 911 and began to evacuate. Deputies were on scene within two minutes, making sure the patrons were safe and trying to locate any possible threat.
"I couldn't be prouder of our deputies and their response," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "They arrived within moments and immediately gained control of this chaotic scene."
Deputies determined the threat was unfounded. Immediately, detectives began to investigate where the call came from. The investigation led them to Wayne Lee Padgett. Padgett admitted to blocking his number, calling Walmart and later deleting his call history. He is now charged with a felony in connection to the false threat.
"These criminals that seek to make us afraid to go shopping, to the movies, concerts, work and school are nothing but terrorists," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "This type of behavior will not be tolerated. We will pursue justice to the fullest extent of the law."
No firearms were located at Padgett's home. He is unemployed and has no criminal history.