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Mesa PD: Man threatens to shoot victims with tranquilizer gun filled with HIV while demanding money

Posted: 2:02 PM, Oct 10, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-11 05:21:37Z
Drone linked to bizarre HIV extortion arrest

A man from Payson reportedly threatened to infect Mesa residents with HIV while demanding money from them.

Court records show that on August 18, the first set of victims received a letter demanding $2,000 or they and their families would have HIV injected into them with a tranquilizer gun. 

Police report that the threatening letters included names and addresses of family members of the victims. The letters also included a picture of tranquilizer dart gun with a dart "capable of containing and delivering a biological agent into a living target."

Police say the next day another letter was sent to a different set of victims with similar demands and threats.

On September 21 and 26, the victims received another set of letters. They were instructed to go to a certain location at a certain time and find a walk-talkie. In the walkie-talkie conversation, a man, later identified as 30-year-old John Patrick Wilcox, instructed them to drop the money in a bag with green glow sticks located on the Southside of US-60 between Higley Road and Superstition Springs Boulevard.   

Police were watching the place and saw a drone flying in the area circling the drop location. After a few orbits, the drone picked up the package and delivered it to a nearby car. Wilcox was taken into custody at gunpoint after a traffic stop.

Police say they found the drone which was modified to pick up packages, a walkie-talkie, and a voice distortion device.

Wilcox has been charged with multiple counts of theft by extortion.  

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