Police: Blackmailer extorted $300 from York County man, is now a fugitive

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A York County man who sent a photo of himself to a Delaware woman capitulated to her first extortion demand, but he called state police when she tried to extort more money from him, according to charging documents.

The alleged blackmailer, Patricia Helen Hawkins, failed to appear for her Dec. 30 preliminary hearing, where presiding District Judge Laura Manifold forwarded her case to York County Court for trial and requested a bench warrant be issued for the woman's arrest.

That warrant was issued Jan. 4 by York County Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder, then reaffirmed on Jan. 27 by Common Pleas Judge Craig T. Trebilcock when Hawkins missed her formal court arraignment, court records state.

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Hawkins, 30, of the 700 block of West 11th Street in New Castle, is facing misdemeanor charges of theft by extortion/exposing a secret, theft by extortion/inflicting harm and two counts of harassment.

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She did not answer a call to the cellphone number listed in court records for her, and she didn't respond to a subsequent text message and email seeking comment.

According to state police, Hawkins was going by the name "Sarah Tilley" on Facebook in March 2020 when she befriended a Hopewell Township man on the social-media platform.

Asked for nude photo: The man "thought she was just in need of a friend," court documents state, and they communicated back and forth through Facebook Messenger.

"The conversation eventually shifted to one of a sexual nature," and Hawkins asked the man to send her a nude photo of himself, documents state.

The man agreed to text her a nude photo of himself, after which the two began conversing via text messages, police said.

"The tone of the conversation later shifted when 'Sarah' began demanding money" and threatening to share the photo to his friends and family if he didn't give in to her demand, according to court documents.

In March, the man sent her $300 through PayPal, but Hawkins wasn't satisfied, police said.

She kept demanding more money from him through multiple messages and phone calls, and wanted the man to pay her "a weekly fee," court documents allege.

State police were able to obtain a search warrant for the PayPal account to which the man sent the money, which is how they learned Hawkins' identity, according to court documents.

Police filed charges against her on Nov. 17, court records state.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.