Crime

Couple calls in bomb threat to avoid getting traffic ticket, Collinsville police say

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

A Missouri couple called in a bomb threat Monday to a Collinsville Walmart to avoid getting a traffic ticket, police said.

Officers pulled over a Ford pickup just before 3:30 a.m., a news release from Collinsville police stated. Driving the truck was 37-year-old Max W. Vance, of Eugene, Missouri, and 32-year-old Shelly L. Fritch, of Centralia, Missouri, was in the passenger’s seat.

Police say they found two guns illegally in the couple’s truck during a search, according to the release. Vance, a convicted felon, was then arrested. Fritch was told she could leave with the truck.

During the traffic stop, the Collinsville non-emergency line had received a call from an unidentified female caller, who said she’d left a bomb at the Walmart at 1040 Collinsville Crossing Blvd., the release stated.

After Fritch left and Vance was taken to the police department for processing, the same officers went to investigate at the Walmart, the release stated. There, they found the threat was not credible and gathered that the call had been made from the truck they’d pulled over while they were running the couple’s information during the stop.

“It is believed that the call was made as a ruse with the hopes that it would divert the officer’s attention from the vehicle and cause the officers to quickly complete their business and respond to Walmart,” the release stated.

The Madison County State’s Attorney’s office charged Vance with two counts of unlawful possession of weapons by a felon and one count of disorderly conduct, the release said.

Fritch was charged with one count of disorderly conduct.

The two were both being held in Madison County jail on Tuesday. Vances bail was set at $30,000 and Fritch’s was set at $10,000.

Hana Muslic: 618-239-2626, @h_muslic
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