DOVER, N.H. — Authorities charged a Kittery, Maine, man for his alleged connection to a burglary in April which has been linked to a federal case involving charges of extortion.
Dover police arrested 21-year-old John Villegas on Thursday on a felony charge of burglary.
Authorities say they arrested Villegas, a resident of 12 Dame St. in Kittery, for his alleged involvement in the April 7 burglary of a Dover residence.
The resident told Dover officers her laptop computer was stolen, along with some of her underwear.
On July 11, the female reported to Dover police she was emailed personal photographs that were on her laptop’s hard drive. She told authorities the writer of the email demanded she send him more photographs.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Villegas allegedly tried to extort the resident into providing him with sexually explicit pictures and videos of herself.
The affidavit claims Villegas sent the victim threatening emails indicating he would publish other sexually explicit photographs of her on the Internet as well as distribute them to her neighbors, co-workers and social acquaintances if she did not comply with his requests.
Officials with the Dover Police Department contacted the U.S. Secret Service office for assistance with tracing the emails. Villegas soon was identified as the alleged sender of the emails and was arrested on July 17 on federal charges of extortion.
Authorities have deemed the type of cyberextortion Villegas has allegedly engaged in as “sextortion.”
If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of two years in prison for the email threats and five years in prison for allegedly obtaining photographs of the victim from a computer without authorization.
These sentences could be followed by up to three years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as a fine reaching up to $500,000.
Dover police solicited assistance from the N.H. State Police Forensic Laboratory and were able to compare Villegas’ DNA with evidence collected from the April 7 burglary. Authorities say they were able to link Villegas to the crime and issued a warrant for his arrest.
Villegas turned himself in to Dover police without incident on Thursday. He was arraigned in Dover Circuit Court immediately after his arrest on a felony level charge of burglary, where a judge set his bail at $2,500 cash.
He is being held at Strafford County Department of Corrections and is scheduled to appear in Dover Circuit Court for a probable cause hearing on Aug. 16.
As for the federal charges Villegas is facing, he is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court on Aug. 20 for a show cause hearing.
(c)2012 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services