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STREETSBORO, Ohio (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained a screenshot of a suspect in one of the recent sextortion cases in Streetsboro. It’s a suspect police believe lives overseas.
“He is 100% a suspect in one of the cases,” said Police Chief Patricia Wain.
She added that he could also be involved in all three recent cases. The most recent was filed Monday.
“It was pretty much exactly the same thing as the others,” the chief said. “The bad guy reached out through social media and of course identified himself as a young girl the same age as the victim.”
The chief says in all the cases, the suspect convinces the victim to send sexually explicit photographs and then immediately starts demanding money.
The suspect threatens to send the pictures to the victim’s relatives and friends if they don’t send money.
In the case filed Monday, the boy sent $200 but the suspect kept threatening him.
The chief added that the suspect was so aggressive that he continued to harass the victim while he was at the police station filing the reports.
“He told him it was never going to end,” the chief said.
She said police even intervened but the suspect did not care.
“Very broken English and clearly overseas,” the chief said. “To them, it is a job. They do not care that the victim is a child.”
The Streetsboro police are investigating and working with federal agencies.
FBI officials say thousands of teenagers nationwide were victims of this online crime in 2022. Officials say there were more than a dozen suicides nationally linked to sextortion, including the tragic death of Streetsboro teen James Woods.
“The statistics right now show that if it hasn’t happened to your child yet, it’s going to,“ the chief said. “It’s not an if, it’s a when.”
The Streetsboro Schools superintendent says they want to continue to encourage teens that are victims of sextortion to reach out to their parents as soon as possible.
“It doesn’t matter how bad of an incident, you have to go to your parents,” Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh said. “Your parents may be disappointed, but you have to go to your parents. As a family, you can work through anything.”