Bastrop Cellphone Store Manager Arrested for Extortion

BASTROP, LA -- A simple repair at a Verizon Wireless store in Bastrop ends in arrest for extortion.

"Extortion is a threat to expose something, in exchange of something," states Bob Noel, a Monroe-based lawyer.

According to the arrest report, the victim picked up his phone from the store a couple of weeks ago on August 8.

But then, the report says the victim started getting text messages from the store manager, Eric Hendrix.

According to officials, Hendrix told the victim he had taken photos from the phone and the store computer system, including some that were sexual in nature.

The report states Hendrix asked repeatedly for more nude pictures, in exchange for deleting the others.

"The right of privacy with your smart phones has been enhanced this year," said Noel. 

In a sweeping victory for privacy rights in the 21st century, the Supreme Court in June unanimously ruled that the police need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest.

"Unlike your old phones of yesteryear, or other objects, your whole life these days... Is on a cellphone," said Noel.

Noel says with technology growing more and more, we're losing more privacy.

"People have access to your information, whether they're repairing your computer, your phone," he said.

Noel says if you're taking your phone in for a repair, take out the SIM card or make sure there is not sensitive information or pictures saved.

"You're entitled to sue the company for the actions of the employee," added Noel, in the event of a breach of information from your phone by an employee of a pawn shop or mobile carrier store.

And if you plan on selling or exchanging your phone or computer, Noel advisees to delete every last trace of information through the reset option.

"You make sure you wipe out all of your information, because it can be used by identity thieves, or someone who might try to extort money or other things from you," he said.

As for Hendrix, his bond is set at $10,000.

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