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One of the incidents happened in Ava on Saturday. I lived in Ava most of my adult life, and I still shop there fairly often. Usually at Walmart. I can say with certainty that the Ava Walmart wasn't running any phone sales this past Saturday.
Here's a little info about Ava: it's tiny. It has a population of less than 3,000. It's not on the way to anywhere. It's literally in the middle of nowhere. The nearest towns (half an hour away) are even smaller. The closest place of any size is Springfield, and THAT'S about an hour away.
No one just happens to come to Ava, or stops in as they're going to somewhere else. And though Ava has 4 convenience stores, they're not the kind of places that someone's gonna run out to Walmart and buy cell phones to stock. They're all big chains. There are two Casey's, a Signal, and a Murphy's attached to Walmart. There are also Walmarts much, much closer to every single town in the area.
The Ava police say "a man of middle eastern descent" tried to purchase 60 phones. He was from Michigan. Now, I might take with a grain of salt the ability of Ava police to accurately identify a "person of middle eastern descent," but it's INCREDIBLY suspicious for this to have happened. If it were someone more local, I'd think it was meth-related. But Michigan?
The whole "buying them to restock a cell store or convenience store" doesn't fit here. Because there ARE no cell stores closer than Springfield, and the couple convenience stores that sell phones 1)don't sell the same brands that Walmart does and 2) still have phones that have been sitting there for 2-3 years gathering dust, because people go buy them...at Walmart, where they're cheaper. And quite frankly, 60 phones would nearly wipe out this Walmart's stock, lol.
Now, I'm not screaming "terrorists" or Muslim-bashing here. I have no idea what's going on. But in the 15 years or so this store has been open, I've never, EVER heard of anything like this.