Couple Charged in Online Sex Scam Targeting Neighbor
FOX 11 NEWS
OMRO, Wis. (WLUK – FOX 11) – An Omro woman is sharing her story with FOX 11 News in Green Bay, after facing weeks of harassment.
Police say two of the woman’s neighbors posted sexual ads on Craigslist in her name. Those neighbors, a man and woman, have been arrested.
“It was horrifying,” said Becky Drake, who told us the last three weeks have been a living nightmare.
It started in late October.
“There were two truckloads of guys banging on my door going, ‘Is this the place, is this the place?’ and my husband was like, ‘No! This isn’t the place!’ They’re looking in our windows, they’re looking in our door,” described Drake.
Drake told FOX 11 that men she didn’t know kept coming to her door at all hours of the day.
One of the men eventually showed Drake a Craigslist ad that included Drake’s photo, an email address in her name, and graphic sexual detail.
“I was just devastated that someone would say that I’m doing sexual favors and the kind of sexual favors were pretty sick,” Drake explained.
Drake did not put up the ad or either of the two subsequent ads that appeared. She contacted police when the men started showing up.
“They’re showing up, responding to an ad, believing this is all consensual,” explained Lt. Joe Benoit of the Omro Police Dept.
With the ad, police talked to some of the men.
“I had a very cooperative subject that I dealt with that had responded to the ad,” Benoit told FOX 11.
Police traced the IP address form the ads to a home one house down from Drake’s. They arrested 32-year-old Michael Wilz and 43-year-old Julie Wittrock, who are now facing seven charges each including stalking and identity theft.
“I never thought it would’ve been one of my neighbors,” Drake said.
According to Drake she barely knows the two, or why they would target her.
“No reason,” she said.
Police told us the suspects are being held in the Winnebago County Jail. The two are being held on bond, which totals $35,000 cash between the two of them.
Drake said she is sad, scared, and angry, especially since her daughter had to witness what happened.
“No 11-year-old should have to feel unsafe in her own home. We own a gun now, which I never thought I’d have to say, living in a small, little, quiet town like Omro,” she said.
Drake told us she hopes her story will help others stay safe.
“I just want them to know how easy it is for someone to make a fake email in your name and pretend they’re you,” she said.
She and police advise keeping as much of your personal information off the internet as possible and monitor who can see what you post.
Wilz and Wittrock are expected to return to court Monday.
If convicted on all charges, they could each face up to 70 years in prison.