No hostages, only birds at Wards Road Wal-Mart Published: April 15, 2008 Lynchburg police thought a hostage situation may have been afoot when they set up a barricade outside the Wal-Mart on Wards Road Tuesday morning. A customer had noticed the 24-hour-a-day store was locked, and had seen a person inside with a gun. There were no hostages, however. Instead, an exterminator with an air rifle was helping reclaim a store that had gone to the birds. “Wal-Mart had hired someone to go in there and take care of that bird problem,” said Lt. T.B. Lawton with the Lynchburg Police Department. The small birds had been in the store for several weeks and prompted concern from some customers and the Lynchburg Health Department. The store was closed for a couple of hours Tuesday while the exterminators worked. But police didn’t get word of the plan, Lawton said. Around 5 a.m. a customer came to the door of the Wal-Mart and realized it was closed, Lawton said. Seeing someone inside with what looked like a rifle, “she of course immediately called us,” Lawton said. “We set up as though there was a hostage situation,” he said. Police blocked the entrances to the parking lot for at least an hour. When police contacted employees inside the store and learned what was really going on, they packed up and left. Lawton was not on duty during the suspected hostage situation, and the police report he read did not list the time the barricade ended. Steven Simpson, environmental health manager at the Lynchburg Health Department, said Tuesday he had talked to the Wal-Mart manager to confirm that the birds were out of the store. “Hopefully that chapter’s closed,” he said. Last week, Simpson had said that he was aware of the birds in the store. He said that it was “disturbing” to think of the birds being so close to food. But he said it can be hard to keep birds from getting into the store, and hard to get rid of them once they’re inside. “They’re quick,” he said. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Jamie Lamontagne in an e-mail, “Our doors are opened frequently and sometimes a bird might happen to fly in.” “Wal-Mart strives to comply with all rules and regulations regarding animal treatment and will attempt to humanely shoo the birds back out the doors,” she said. “When necessary, we call the appropriate experts to assist in removing birds from our stores.” Lamontagne did not say which pest control company did the extermination. So they waited an hour before they decided to try to call the store? And who the fuck goes to walmart at 5am?