Several St. Louis area Walmart stores have made the proactive decision to lock away their ammunition due to apparent fears of theft from supporters of deceased strong-arm robbery suspect Michael Brown.
Monday night, demonstrators made their way into Walmart locations in Maplewood, Ferguson and Bridgeton, forcing the stores to close while several arrests were made.
On Wednesday afternoon, the empty shelves at Maplewood looked like there had been a mass purchase of ammunition. But according to an employee, it was locked up in the back.
“I can see why they would think that would be a concern if someone did break in in mass and loot the place and steal ammo,” said shopper Tim Casey.
There were no reports of looting on Monday, but Walmart said it was a taking a precaution.
“If there is a history of violence and looting and other activity that are going on or things that are putting associates and customers at risk—then yes, decisions can be made based on those circumstances,said Walmart spokesperson Brian Nick.
According to Nick, the Maplewood store made the decision Monday to lock their ammunition in the back, prior to protests. The Ferguson store did the same.
The Maplewood and Bridgeton stores have put their ammo back in locking display cases, but the shelves in Ferguson remain empty. Shoppers can still purchase ammunition at these locations by asking a store associate for assistance.
Protesters have been more or less non-violent in recent days, despite a recent of break of hysteria when another area man was shot and killed after he opened fire on a pursuing police officer.
The grand jury investigation into the Brown shooting is still on-going, and a decision on whether or not to charge Officer Wilson for Brown’s shooting is expected in coming weeks.
Many of the protesters have made it very clear on social media and elsewhere that anything short of a murder conviction will result in widespread rioting, and that it may not be confined to the St. Louis area.