Evidence is mounting that there is a possible terrorist cell operating in the Columbia, Missouri area. Over the past several days local Walmarts have reported having multiple incidents where men are purchasing large quantities of prepaid cell phones and paying with cash. These “throw aways” are often used by terrorists and criminals for communication purposes due to the lack of traceability to the buyer and the difficulty for law enforcement to conduct surveillance.
So, what is exactly happened thus far?
At least five cities so far have been included – Ava, Lebanon, Columbia, Jefferson City, and Macon. In all cases individuals are coming in and purchasing upwards of 100 cell phones and paying with cash.
In at least one event the men were “foreign speaking”. Due to this being highly unusual purchase the stores called police. Law enforcement in at least one case was able to talk a man making the purchase and let him go as he had not broken the law.
The FBI is currently investigating at least three of these cases.
In addition to large purchases of cell phones explosives were found buried along an off road trial in Waynesville, Mo. by a deer hunter back in October. These explosives were within 2 hours of Columbia and 30 minutes of Lebanon. The explosives were investigated and the official word is that they had no connection to terrorism.
In my world 2 + 2 = 4 every day of the week. Is it possible it only looks like a 2 and it is really 1 or 3? Sure – it can happen.
In late November a BP gas station and a CVS reported having more than 40 propane tanks stolen. These events occurred approx 2 hours west of Columbia.
Be vigilant folks. Also be aware for yourself. Although I commend these WalMarts for being aware of the possible situation I would be pretty upset if I was detained for a few hours for purchasing a couple thousand rounds of ammunition because some employee thought it was suspicious for buying too much.