SELMA – A former employee at a Selma animal hospital has been charged with extortion and cyberstalking. Eduardo Figueroa, age 40, of S. Sussex Drive, Smithfield was arrested December 14 at his residence by Smithfield Police. Stolen medical records from the animal hospital were also recovered at his home, police said.
On December 9, Selma Police were dispatched to For Pet’s Sake Animal Hospital on S. Raiford Street. According to a police report, the owner, Dr. Barbara Cotten, told police she had just fired Figueroa earlier that day. Figueroa had previously made comments the business could be turned to ash if he wished, the report stated. A couple of months earlier, he allegedly made unsettling comments when Dr. Cotten took away his key to the business.
After his termination, staff discovered old medical records belonging to the business were missing. Police obtain an email Figueroa sent to Dr. Cotten demanding a $50 per month fee to prevent him from releasing their customers’ private information on the “darknet.” The email stated the business had until December 16 to make good on his demands, according to the police report.
The ex-employee also left messages on the animal hospital’s work phone, police said. In the messages, Figueroa allegedly said “I vow to tear her kingdom down to rubble,” “She made herself an international target,” “Meet the beast,” and “I’ve got something in motion that can’t be undone.”
Text messages left on Dr. Cotten’s personal cell phone reportedly included, “Get ready to get f***d”, “I’ve called in a favor from the Sicilian Mafia,” “Death is a privilege and I’m ready,” and “I’m going to show you what misery is.” A video was also sent to her phone of someone being dismembered.
On December 14th, Selma Police obtained three warrants for Eduardo Figueroa’s arrest, two felony extortion warrants and one cyberstalking warrant.. He was served with the warrants later that day by Smithfield Police, who also recovered the stolen medical records from his home.
Figueroa was held under a $100,000 bond at the Johnston County Jail.