Imagine getting a random Facebook message from a stranger saying: You only have a few weeks left to live, so spend your time wisely.
That's exactly what authorities say happened to multiple victims in South Jersey, at the hands of a man they've labeled the "Facebook Stalker."
State police announced Wednesday afternoon that they've arrested the Hamilton Township, Atlantic County resident who was allegedly terrorizing random victims online since the summer, with victims reportedly in varied towns such as Toms River and Voorhees.
Craig L. Wyatt Jr., 20, was charged with multiple counts of making terroristic threats, theft of services and harassment. He was held in the Atlantic County Jail in lieu of $35,000 bail.
State police said the investigation began in July, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children notified them that someone using the screen name "Jimmy Raketerra" sent a threatening message to a juvenile from Browns Mills, Burlington County. On Aug. 3, state police detectives were contacted by Voorhees police for assistance with an investigation into four separate juvenile victims receiving threats via Facebook.
State police sent a bulletin to all New Jersey law enforcement agencies seeking any other victims in the case. Twenty-one police departments located additional victims who said they had been threatened by the same person. Detectives analyzing information identified Wyatt as a suspect.
On Sept. 20, detectives located and interviewed Wyatt at his residence. He admitted to using multiple Facebook accounts, email addresses and phone numbers to communicate with his victims, state police said.
"It appears that the victims were random," said Sgt. Adam Grossman, a state police spokesman.
Wyat faces additional charges from the following law enforcement agencies:
Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, Bellmawr, Bordentown, Cherry Hill, Collingswood, Deptford, Denville, Eastampton, Egg Harbor, Evesham, Florham Park, Gloucester Township, Hamilton Township (Atlantic County), Merchantville, Mount Holly, Pemberton, Southampton, Toms River, Voorhees and West Deptford.
Anyone with information that could assist with this investigation is asked to contact the New Jersey State Police at 609-584-5051, ext. 5624.