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Roy and the Extortionist
Joan grew up in a small, uneventful town of 2,500. She was part of a big family, and nothing ever happened in that small town until her senior year of high school.
She was outside on the front porch carving pumpkins when her mother came running.
“‘What are you doing outside? Get in the house, now!’” said her mother.
Confused, Joan went inside.
Joan’s father, Roy, a well-known businessman, received a threatening letter in the mail. The note was taped together with cut out letters from a magazine. It read, “I know you have three kids in college…I’ll contact you later with what I want you to do.”
Unsure whether he should toss the letter or take the threat seriously, he chose the latter and immediately called the police. They told him to warn the kids in college, but not to tell Joan and her sister.
The local police got the FBI involved because they had experience with extortion cases. They followed Joan and her sister to school every day for weeks without them knowing it.
Soon, Roy got a second threatening letter that was printed on a typewriter. It said, “You will give me $18,000 in cash within two days or the life of one of your children will be put in danger.”
Now everyone (who knew) was sure the threat was serious, and things got tense. The writer detailed exactly what he wanted: Roy should get the cash, bundle it a certain way, and deliver it, alone, to a waiting car at 7am on Monday morning.
One problem: the bank was closed when he read the letter, and would not open again until after 7am on Monday.
Luckily, Roy was good friends with the president of the bank, so he called him up.
“I need you to do me a big favor, Chet. Don’t ask any questions, but I need you to open the bank so I can take money out of the vault. It’s an emergency.”
On Sunday morning, Roy brought an FBI agent to the bank with him. The president, along with the agent, put together a partially fake package of money. The package looked real because the outside walls were lined with actual money, but fake bills filled the inside.
After a long night, Roy met with the FBI. When they arrived at the given destination, the agents stayed hidden, while Roy walked alone to the car. It was only a couple feet to the vehicle, but that walk must have felt like miles.
As soon as the man in the car took the package from Roy, the FBI ran out and arrested him.
Surprisingly, the blackmailer was a neighbor who lived two houses down the street. He was struggling financially, and thought extorting money from Roy would be an easy fix, considering how much Roy loved his kids.
Roy and his family saw the neighbor and his children in church every Sunday and never suspected him.
As time went on things calmed down, and everyone knew that it would be years before the man would be out of jail.