News & Politics

Multiple Reports of Mass Cell Phone Purchases and Propane Tank Heists Put Missourians on Edge

Reports of mass cell phone purchases and propane tank thefts throughout Missouri have put people on edge this past week, forcing them to think about what sort of nasty surprises could be in store for them this holiday season.

Several Missouri law enforcement agencies have notified the FBI about the large number of untraceable disposable cellphone buys from multiple area Walmarts in the past week.

Gateway Pundit has been keeping tabs on the alarming trend.

Early Saturday morning two “foreign speaking” men set off alarms after they entered the local Walmart store in Lebanon, Missouri and purchased 60 cellphones. The purchase was made around 4 AM in the morning. Police were called but released the men saying they didn’t have a legal reason to detain them.

The Macon County Sheriff’s office is investigating a second suspicious purchase of dozens of cellphones at the Columbia Walmart on Conley Road.

A third suspicious purchase was made at a Walmart in Macon, Missouri.

On Thursday a fourth Walmart in Jefferson City in mid-Missouri reported another bulk cell phone purchase.

A fifth mass cell phone buy was reported in Ava, Missouri, where a man purchased a large amount of cell phones from a Walmart last Saturday.

According to ABC 17 News, authorities in five cities say they have contacted FBI agents. However, the FBI only confirmed it is investigating three of those reports.

“These people were, they were foreign-speaking,” Laclede County Sheriff Wayne Merritt said of the Columbia buyers. “You need to take notice. You need to let us know about it, because it doesn’t hurt to check on it. You’re not being racist or anything like that. You’re just protecting yourself.”

In addition to those five cases,  a television station in Cape Girardeau reported on Thursday that the FBI was investigating more suspicious phone purchases in Cape Girardeau and Jackson, Missouri.

ABC 17 News reached out to the police departments in both cities to confirm these reports and has not heard back.

According to some estimates, the men have amassed at least 200 cell phones.

Via Mad News:

 This case eerily mirrors what happened in Michigan in 2006, when three Muslim men were arrested and charged with supporting terrorism, after purchasing 80 prepaid phones at a Walmart, according to NBC News. When they were stopped, officers found around 1,000 phones in the terrorists’ van.

The police sergeant on the Michigan case said it’s a known tactic for terrorists to buy these prepaid phones late at night or early in the morning, with the hope of getting an inexperienced sales clerk. This is exactly what the Missouri Muslims did, and now there’s no telling just how many phones they have and where or how they plan to use them. Hopefully, we don’t find out after it’s too late.

 Meanwhile, dozens of propane tanks have been disappearing from Kansas City area stores.

The propane tanks have been reported stolen from several locations in Independence and Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Fox 4 reported:

At the end of November, a BP gas station in Lee’s Summit reported 18-20 propane tanks stolen from the outside cages. That same night the CVS on Southwest 3rd Street reported the exact same crime.

Two weeks later, the CVS on East 23rd Street in Independence was hit, and 28 tanks were stolen from that location.

Sources within law enforcement say they received an urgent safety email about the propane thefts.

While there are several ways those tanks and cell phones phones can be used, in this climate, terror attacks are always a consideration.

Retired FBI agent Michael Tabman told Fox 4 that “there is no need to panic that a sleeper cell is planning a terror attack just yet.”

“Certainly, we hear something about gas being stolen we worry about a potential bomb. The good news is this is probably not part of terrorist planning for a number of reasons,” Tabman said. “One is they wouldn’t steal these items because they know that would attract law enforcement’s attention. Also this would not be a tool of choice.”

The FBI would not comment on the cell phone purchases or propane thefts, only saying that they encourage the public: If you see something, say something.

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