HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — Chelby Eberlin did not believe her life was imminently in danger from a man who was threatening her on Facebook.
But she was afraid others might.
Eberlin was one of several women in the state who came forward Thursday with new allegations against a Hamilton Township man accused of using social media to threaten women’s lives and coerce sexual favors.
On Thursday afternoon, Eberlin, 20, went to the township’s Police Department to inquire about pressing charges against a man who she said repeatedly threatened her via the social media website between April and August.
The anonymous page user named “Don Mottola” said there were people who wanted to kill her and he would only stop them if she performed sexual favors, said Eberlin, who described many of the Facebook messages as “vulgar.”
“Oh, well, we’ll be seeing you soon kid and I’m sorry. You should start spending your time wisely. From what I’m hearing you don’t have much left,” read one of the earlier messages, dated April 24.
“It was scary. This was creepy,” she said. “I can’t understand what would possess someone to do that.”
State Police announced the arrest of township resident Craig L. Wyatt Jr., 20, on Wednesday. Wyatt is accused of making threats to multiple women through social media. He is charged with two counts of making terroristic threats by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and Hamilton police; two counts of making terroristic threats and theft of services by State Police; and four counts of harassment by Voorhees police.
He was being held in Atlantic County jail on $35,000 bail.
State Police said Wednesday that victims from 21 separate jurisdictions across New Jersey have reported similar incidents. On Thursday, Sgt. Brian Polite said several other potential victims have come forward as the news has spread.
Polite confirmed Don Mottola is an alias used by Wyatt, who also allegedly used the name Jimmy Raketerra.
Eberlin said the ordeal was scary and caused her difficulty sleeping, but that she still kept conversing with her stalker in an attempt to get clues about his identity. An acquaintance said he looked like someone named Craig from her high school. Eberlin said that after she called him Craig during one message Aug. 6, he blocked her on Facebook and never conversed with her again.
“I knew I knew him from somewhere,” she said.
The Mays Landing resident said she wanted to speak out to protect other women who may be naive enough to believe this scam. She said she connected with 10 other women from the area who were also contacted by “Mottola” and said she knew of at least one who planned to also file charges.
“I was relieved,” Eberlin said of hearing about the arrest. “For a while I was living in fear.”
Polite said incidents of cyber stalking can often go unreported as the victims may not view it as a credible threat. But it’s an incident that can be investigated, he said.
“People may feel like there is no need to report it,” he said. “But just because they are doing it on social media does not mean there’s not something to their threats. (The victims) should report them to the appropriate authorities.”
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