A federal jury has convicted a man of attempting to extort $1 million from a Kansas City homeowner through threats of vandalism and arson to the home.
Leon L. Dudley III, 24, of Lee’s Summit faces up to 20 years in prison without parole, after a jury found him guilty Wednesday on one count of extortion following two hours of deliberation.
A contractor working for the unidentified homeowner found a handwritten note taped to the house in August 2018. The note demanded $1 million by the following day to avoid vandalism and having the house burned down. The next day, multiple windows and a sliding glass door were broken out in two separate incidents.
“The note included a cell phone number for the victim to text when the money was ready, and warned against contacting law enforcement,” the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri wrote in a press release.
Authorities traced the phone to a residence Dudley shared with his mother, the release said. Investigators found handwriting matching the extortion note and photos of Dudley that matched the profile of a man captured by the homeowner’s surveillance camera.
In a search of Dudley’s residence, officials found an iPad that had been stolen from the victim’s under-construction home that June. The iPad “contained internet searches related to the victim, to burning down a house and purchasing explosive items, and two extortion notes similar to the handwritten note that was left at the victim’s residence,” the press release says.
The extortion note and envelope also contained fingerprints that matched Dudley’s.
The case was investigated by the Kansas City Police Department and the FBI.