Man says he had to pay $10,000 extortion money to save his cat

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A man told Lee County deputies that an acquaintance threatened to kill his cat if he didn't give him $10,000, so he did.

The 70-year-old victim reported the incident to deputies on Monday.

According to a Lee County Sheriff's incident report, the victim and two friends are staying at a motel in Immokalee and were approached by the acquaintance at 10:30 am Monday.  The man demanded the victim give him $10,000 and said he would kill the victim's cat if he didn't go to the bank to get the money.

The victim says that he was aware the man had a history of strong-armed robbery and was afraid that he would indeed kill his cat.

The victim, the acquaintance, and one of the friends rode to a bank in Lehigh Acres, where the victim withdrew $13,000 and gave the suspect $10,000.

The trio then went to a nearby phone store, where the acquaintance and the victim's friend purchased cell phones.

The victim later called deputies to report the incident and indicated that there was a protection order involving the acquaintance, but he was not sure if the papers had been served.

The victim says that at no time was a weapon displayed or implied, but says he did feel in fear at the time of the incident.

The victim indicated that he would like to prosecute the man he gave the money to.

Detectives are investigating the claims.

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