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Tampa woman tried to build explosive device inside Walmart, deputies say

The 37-year-old woman is accused of trying to cause an “explosion" inside the store, said Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister.

TAMPA ⁠— A 37-year-old woman was arrested Saturday after deputies say she tried to build an explosive device inside a Walmart while she had a child with her.

Emily Stallard faces 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.

The incident took place just before 6 p.m. at the Walmart at 2701 E Fletcher Ave. A security guard noticed Stallard roaming the aisles of the store and opening unpaid items such as “flammable materials, projectiles and matches,” according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

The guard called the Sheriff’s Office and also notified an off-duty Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer who was inside the store at the time. The guard and the off-duty officer approached the woman and detained her until deputies arrived.

The woman had a child with her at the time of the incident, deputies said. The Sheriff’s Office did not disclose the child’s age or who took custody of the child. The agency also did not release any other details about what kind of device the woman attempted to build, how close she came or how powerful it might have been.

“This woman had all the supplies she needed to cause mass destruction at her disposal," Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “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.”

Stallard, of Tampa, was being held in the Hillsborough County jail on Tuesday in lieu of $8,500 bail.