CLEARWATER, Fla. — A Clearwater man was arrested Monday after telling Walmart employees that he would "snap" and bring a gun back to the store if the toy he was buying was broken, according to police.
- Anthony Reed, 33, held under $100,000 bond
- Incident happened Friday at Clearwater Walmart
- Reed accused of making threat if purchased item didn't work
Anthony Reed, 33, was charged with felony false report use of a firearm in a violent manner. The incident happened on Friday at 12:15 p.m., at the Walmart located at 23106 U.S. Highway 19 N in Clearwater.
An employee told police that Reed was in the toy section buying a remote control car and said, "If I get home and this is broken, I'm gonna snap and come back here with a gun." The threat placed a well-founded fear with the employees, according to police.
"Store employees did not think he was joking," said Rob Shaw, Clearwater Police spokesman. "They thought he was serious."
Police used surveillance video and the debit card the remote control car was purchased with to track Reed down. The defendant admitted he made the threat but said he was joking and did not own a gun.
"It's not the time, it's not the place," said Shaw. "Violence and the threat of violence is not a joking manner any day of the week."
Anthony Reed was arrested Monday. (Clearwater Police Department)
The alleged gun threat joke came less than week after gunmen killed 22 people at an El Paso Walmart and nine victims at an Ohio bar.
Reed made his first appearance in court on Tuesday and told Judge Susan St. John that he makes about $80 a day. A prosecutor said Reed was a convicted sex offender. An arrest report said he may also be a sovereign citizen.
Judge St. John decided to double Reed's recommended bond amount to $100,000.
"How much is 10 percent?" asked Reed. "Ten grand?"
"You work that out with the bondsmen," replied Judge St. John. "But yes, 10 percent of $100,000 is ten grand."
Walmart spokesperson Casey Staheli released a statement to Spectrum Bay News 9 about the incident.
“We take any and all threats seriously," she said. "We appreciate local law enforcement's quick response and will continue to work with them as they investigate any threats we receive.”