Woman charged in W. Manchester Twp. Walmart bomb threat

A woman is accused of making the bomb threat that evacuated the West Manchester Township Walmart the day before Thanksgiving, according to police.

West Manchester Township Police said Jodi Lynn Markle called York County 911 and reported that she had placed a pipe bomb at the Walmart on Nov. 21.

Markle, 55, no address provided, is charged with making terroristic threats causing an evacuation, a felony, and making terroristic threats, a misdemeanor. 

West Manchester Township Police said a bomb threat caused an evacuation at the West Manchester Township Walmart Wednesday, Nov. 21. Christopher Dornblaser photo.

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Threats: According to charging documents filed by Detective Robert Davenport, a woman called in a bomb threat to York County 911 just before 2 p.m. that day.

She called again at 2:17 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and gave "more specific threats," indicating she had placed a pipe bomb in the store, court documents allege.

The calls prompted a two-hour long evacuation so the store could be searched, police said.

Police said at the time that the grounds were searched by York County Sheriff's Department K-9s, and no problems were found. 

On Nov. 23, about 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., that same phone called York County 911 and reported similar threats to the Walmart, charging documents state.

Police found that the phone that called 911 had been activated at the Walmart on Nov. 21, officials said.

Jodi Markle, pictured in a May 2015 mugshot.

Investigation: A loss-prevention officer viewed surveillance footage of the purchase and recognized the customer as Markle, and he remembered her from a previous incident that resulted in her being banned from the store, according to authorities.

Davenport found a different phone number for her, called it and spoke to her, documents state.

"I was immediately able to determine that Markle's voice was similar to the voice on the 911 calls that I had listened to regarding the bomb threats," Davenport wrote in charging documents.

Davenport arranged to meet with Markle, and she admitted to going to the Walmart on Nov. 21 and Nov. 23, officials said. She also admitted buying the phone but denied making the threats, according to officials.

Markle told Davenport that she met a woman named Jill at the Weis Markets on White Street on Nov. 21, documents state. She said that woman asked her to buy her a phone, which Markle agreed to, officials said.

Markle said that the two drove to Walmart and Markle went in to purchase a phone while Jill stayed outside to smoke, officials said.

Markle gave the woman the phone, then re-entered the store to shop, charging documents state.

Davenport was given consent to search her phone and found that it did not match the phone used to call York County 911, officials said. Davenport searched Markle and did not find any more phones, but police said that he found an Alcatel battery, documents state.

That battery would be similar to the one used to power the phone that called York County 911, according to authorities.

Chief John Snyder said on Monday, Dec. 3, that the phone has not been recovered.

Markle told police she found the battery at a bus station, officials said.

Markle's charges were filed Monday, and she was arraigned on the charges that day. She was sent to York County Prison on $5,000 bail.

She does not have an attorney listed.

Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 17 at District Judge Keith Albright's office.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.