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Valley City hoax hostage situation originated in Alabama

VALLEY CITY, N.D.—A man who called Family Dollar store here, claiming he was in the parking lot holding a woman hostage on Sunday, June 25, was many states away when he made the call, according to Valley City Police.

A man called the Valley City store and demanded credit card numbers, claiming he would hurt the woman if he didn't receive the card information, police said.

Valley City Police and Barnes County Sheriff's officers arrived at the store but could not find anyone in the cars outside the store that matched the description of what had been reported.

When officers went inside the store, the man was still on the store phone, so officers took over the call and began work with the cell phone provider to find the caller's location.

The cell phone was 'pinged' and found to be in Alabama.

Valley City officers made contact with law enforcement in Alabama and the agencies are investigating who made the call and to what extent other calls were made to Family Dollar stores.

"No threat of imminent harm, a suspect or a hostage was ever located at the Valley City store," Police Chief Phil Hatcher said in a news release.

Charges of terrorizing are pending for when a suspect is determined, Hatcher said in the release.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and and at CBS Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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