Thurston County Watch

A man who caused a large law enforcement response and a lockdown at the Yelm Walmart Monday after threatening to blow up the building with explosives is being treated by mental health professionals rather than spending time in jail. 

Yelm Police Chief Todd Stancil said the decision was made after learning that the man’s threats were not credible and that he in fact had made similar statements in the past based on his apparent psychosis. 

The man, who has not been named, has previously called the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, on one occasion reporting he needed explosives removed from his property, but he in fact did not have any explosives. 

“He was frustrated they had not removed the explosives,” Stancil said, noting that they didn’t exist. “We decided to address his mental issues rather than incarcerating him.”

The man is being treated through Behavioral Health Resources as a way of finding “the male individual the proper help while keeping our community safe,” according to the Yelm Police Department. 

While no one was ever in danger, there was a sizable law enforcement response to the Yelm business.

“It was reported that a male was inside the store and had made comments to an employee that he had explosives in his vehicle and was going to blow the building up,” the police department wrote in a summary of the incident. “Law enforcement responded and immediately detained the male and a female that was with him. The store went into a lockdown out of obvious safety concerns. Investigation determined that the suspect had no explosives in his vehicle, no explosives at his residence and no obvious access to explosives.”

Stancil said he was pleased to know Walmart has a lockdown procedure for such situations. He also noted that the police department would have evacuated the area had there been any evidence his statements were credible. 

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