A woman in Florida was arrested after she allegedly tried to create a makeshift bomb capable of causing “mass destruction” inside a local Walmart, using household products she pulled off of the shelves, officials said.
Emily Stallard, 37, began opening up items while walking through the store with a child when a security guard noticed she was behaving in a “suspicious” manner, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
The security guard then alerted an off-duty Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officer, and the two watched as the woman reportedly collected nails, denatured alcohol and a Mason jar while roaming through the aisles.
They stopped the woman just as she was lighting a wick, an arrest report read, and managed to prevent her from causing harm until police officers arrived on the scene. She spat on the deputies’ faces as she was being taken away in a patrol car, WFLA reported.
“This woman had all the supplies she needed to cause mass destruction at her disposal”, Sheriff Chad Chronister told the local news outlet. “Had it not been for an alert off-duty law enforcement officer and a watchful security staff at Walmart, she may have followed through with her plans to cause an explosion inside the store.”
The sheriff added: “I can’t stress enough: if you see something, say something. You don’t have to tackle a bad guy to be a hero. One phone call to law enforcement when you spot something or someone suspicious can ultimately save lives.”
Stallard was charged with attempted arson, fire bombing, child abuse and battery of a law enforcement officer.
Her bond has been set at $8,500 (£6,534).
In a statement, Walmart said it takes “the safety and security of our customers and associates seriously” and thanked local law enforcement for their quick response.
The company also said it was assisting the sheriff’s office as it conducts an investigation into the incident.
Stallard was still in jail as of Tuesday.