Police need help to catch group sending extortion letters

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

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ROCK HILL, S.C. - Channel 9 has been following developments in a story first reported last week.
 
On Monday, Rock Hill police released a map showing 17 places where a threatening letter has appeared at someone's home.  Mostly, the homes are off Ogden Road in southern Rock Hill, but a few were found across town near Winthrop University.
 
"We don't know if these are teenagers or, we don't know whose doing this," said Executive Officer Mark Bollinger.
 
The first letter showed up back in May. Then a few in July.  Then they've started appearing one after the other since November.
 
The handwritten letters have been discovered in mailboxes, on driveways beneath newspapers, and on car windshields.  None have been actually sent through the mail.
 
 The letters are each different, but all of them demand money be dropped off at a certain location, and threaten violence if instructions are not followed.
 
Some letters even mention the victim by name, others don't.
 
 The newest letter was reported to police just this weekend on Barnes Street.
 
The victim didn't want to go on camera, but told Channel 9 it's the second one she's received.    It threatened her for not responding to the first letter and included the line, "We're not joking."
 
 Sammy McCoy also lives on Barnes Street.  He was bothered that his elderly neighbors are targets.
 
"Well, they're trying to get something for nothing.  Taking advantage of people, older people," McCoy said.
 
His neighbor, who didn't want to be identified, was also upset about it.
 
"I think it's a sad thing, and I hope they catch whoever it is," she said. "People will do anything to get money now, other than working."
 
Rock Hill police have sent off the letters for DNA and fingerprint analysis.  Police may include tests for handwriting analysis if they begin to develop suspects.
 
The extortion letter Channel 9 obtained a copy of mentions several street gangs by name, but police don't know if the crime spree is really gang related.
So far, no one has given the suspects any money, but police believe there are more letters out there that probably weren't reported.
 
They want people to keep an eye on anything suspicious.
 
Several victims did not want to speak on camera about the incident.

Read past coverage:

Police concerned about threatening letters left in SC mailboxes

Police, officials investigate threatening letter to Rock Hill teacher