A Florida woman is behind bars for trying to make an incendiary chemical mixture capable of being ignited, deputies say.
Emily Stallard, 37, is facing multiple charges, including child endangerment, for using various items inside a Walmart in Tampa to create a makeshift explosive device, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
The sheriff's office says the incident happened on Saturday around 6 p.m. at the Walmart on Fletcher Avenue East. Deputies responded to reports of a customer trying to create and ignite a firebomb inside the store. A security guard called the sheriff's office and notified an off-duty Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officer inside the store at the time. The FWC officer and the security guard approached Stallard and held her until deputies arrived.
According to an arrest report, Stallard used a mason jar with fuel denatured alcohol and wire brad nails inside. She also reportedly used a shoelace as a wick and tried to light the shoelace with a lighter, "intending to cause damages by means of fire to the Walmart store and citizens."
“This woman had all the supplies she needed to cause mass destruction at her disposal. Had it not been for an alert off-duty law enforcement officer and a watchful security staff at Walmart, she may have followed through with her plans to cause an explosion inside the store," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "I am proud of the quick response by the officer and security personnel who stepped in and the thorough job performed by my deputies to investigate this matter and make an arrest. I can't stress enough: if you see something, say something. You don't have to tackle a bad guy to be a hero. One phone call to law enforcement when you spot something or someone suspicious can ultimately save lives."
Stallard also had a child with her, who deputies say she tried to get to assist her in the creation of the device, according to the arrest report.
"The defendant encouraged the child to engage in an act that could have caused great bodily harm and induced the child to become delinquent," the report reads.
Stallard was arrested on charges of attempted arson of a structure, fire bombing, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, child abuse and battery on a law enforcement officer.