State and local police investigated numerous automated bomb threats Saturday night that caused evacuations at Wal-Mart stores across Maine, similar to threats reported in several other states in recent days.

No bombs were found.

In Scarborough, police received a “generic voice-automated bomb threat” at 7:49 p.m. for the store on Gallery Boulevard, Sgt. Mary Pearson said in a news release.

After the store was evacuated, “police provided support for the Wal-Mart management and remained on scene until it was deemed safe to allow customers and associates back into the store,” Pearson said. Police started clearing the scene at 9:15 p.m., a dispatcher said. Some customers lingered in the parking lot afterward as employees were seen returning to the store.

Biddeford police received a threat at 7:33 p.m., after which the store at 50 Boulder Way was evacuated, the threat was investigated, and police determined it was unfounded by 8:22 p.m., according to a dispatcher.

In Waterville, Sgt. Brian Gardiner said his agency received an automated call at 7:54 p.m. reporting a threat at the store at 80 Waterville Commons Drive, but police believed it was a prank. The store was searched, and no cause was found to give credence to the threat, he said.

Wal-Mart spokesman Brian Nick told WCSH-TV that the retailer’s 4,500 stores across the country often receive bomb threats around Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

Store managers collaborate with local law enforcement to address each threat, Nick said. None of the threats made about Maine stores on Saturday was deemed credible and no bombs were found, he told the Portland TV station.

Wal-Mart stores in Falmouth and Houlton were evacuated after receiving threats but resumed business after no bombs were found, WCSH reported.

Similar threats were reported in Skowhegan, Windham, Thomaston and Newport.

Elsewhere in the United States, police in Horseheads, New York; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Rawlins, Wyoming; and Vidalia, Mississippi, also responded to similar threats.

The Morning Sentinel in Waterville contributed to this report.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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