PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) – Two Phenix City, AL girls received packages addressed to them in care of their elementary school.
The FBI and the Alabama Fusion Center is reporting that children living in the Southeast, including Alabama, have received unsolicited packages containing food and a letter signed "Atur Bhuck of Santa Fe, NM" as well as visitor's packages from New Jersey.
In the letters, "Bhuck" wrote that he was 14 years old, mentally disabled and a target of bullying. He asked the girls to write him at either of these email addresses, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FBI reports that the IP address of the Gmail account appears to originate from Houston, TX, and that more than 50 New Jersey visitor's packages were ordered from that address for minor girls in Alabama, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Each order included the name of the girl and the address of the elementary school she attends. The same IP address has also appeared on websites discussing girls' underwear and types of music to listen to when he visits his pen pal in Phenix City, AL.
Lynn Hammock is the executive director of the Russell County Child Advocacy Center.
When she heard about the young girls receiving a package from a predator, she said it shows these types of incidents do happen close to home and they are happening more often than not.
"Nothing surprises me anymore especially in this day of social media," said Hammock. "We had the highest year in 20 years this past year with 182 kids coming through our center when we would usually average between 150 and 155."
Hammock said predators are getting their hands on private information which could be contributed to the increasing use of social media.
"It's amazing how social media has allowed people to get in touch with our kids," Hammock said. "I don't know that we have all the answers, but I think as a community and a society we've got to find better ways to protect our children."
When asked about this case, the FBI released this statement to WTVM's sister station WSFA:
The FBI is urging citizens to be aware, be vigilant and make sure your children are aware
Contact the District Attorney's Office at (334) 222-2513 if you suspect your child has been targeted or with any concerns.