A man who illegally obtained a woman’s private photographs and then used them in attempts to blackmail her faces extortion and other charges, said Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson.
The victim notified authorities in April that the man, later identified as Thomas O’Bryan Smith, 30, Statesboro Place Circle, somehow obtained private, intimate photos of her and threatened to publish them on the Internet and social media if she didn’t send him more photos, he said.
Smith “was not in lawful possession of any of the victim’s material,” he said. The case remains under investigation and it is yet unclear how Smith came into possession of the photos.
Investigation into the woman’s claims by the Statesboro-Bulloch County Crime Suppression Team “spanned several months” and involved cooperation from the Statesboro, Georgia Southern University and University of Georgia police departments, he said.
A search warrant revealed evidence of the crimes including drugs and electronic evidence. Smith was charged with marijuana possession, possession of drug related objects, use of communications facilities in committing a crime, conspiring to commit a felony, stalking, theft by extortion, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy, transmission of photos or videos depicting nudity /sexual conduct.
He remains in the Bulloch County Jail, awaiting a bond hearing, Anderson said.