HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Police arrested a 17-year-old Loris teen Friday for impersonating a Horry County Police Officer on Facebook in an effort to coerce around 30 women to meet him for sex.
According to a police report, the Horry County Police Department received a phone call from Tonya Godwin claiming an officer was harassing her on March 14. Godwin stated a male identifying himself as Officer Jamie Jernigan with the Horry County Police Department was sending her unwanted messages on Facebook in an attempt to meet her for sex.
When officers made contact with Officer Jernigan, he stated he had never spoken to Godwin before, and had no idea what was happening.
Upon further investigation into the matter, officers looked at Godwin's Facebook account and found her Facebook wall to be viewable to the public. She spoke about her conversations with the "officer" beginning March 4.
According to the report, Godwin used Jernigan's name repeatedly and at times referred to him as "Sgt." and that his middle initial was "B." She also said he identified himself as a Horry County Police Officer and that he worked in the Little River section of Horry County.
He also said he was in the U.S. Marines as well as a volunteer firefighter.
The report states it was apparent Godwin was not the only one in her circle of friends to be receiving messages by this "officer."
Even after speaking with law enforcement, Godwin still believed an officer was attempting to make contact, which allegedly continued after she spoke with HCPD.
On March 15, officers contacted Godwin again to determine what was happening. She stated she, another woman and as many as 30 other females, had been contacted by the "officer" through messages, instead of posting on their Facebook walls. According to the report, Godwin spoke with the man every day for a week from three to 18 hours a day.
While initially there were no requests to meet, Godwin said she felt comfortable to speak with the "officer." Godwin stated she received a phone call from another woman who said she received five pedicures and a pair of shoes which were paid for by the man claiming to be with law enforcement.
Godwin said later on, the supposed policeman requested she meet him at the Loris Fire Station for a sexual encounter, which she refused. She said at that point, the "officer" began calling her bad names and she asked him to not contact her any further.
"He was a really sweet guy who actually knew how to charm people, but as long as you would be nice to him and gave him what he wanted, he was nice," Godwin said in an interview with WMBF News. "If he didn't get what he wanted, he would start calling you bad names and I don't know, just badmouthing you."
When the man would call her, she said he would inform her he was making traffic stops or fighting brush fires, and at times she said she could hear sirens in the background. A picture he provided to her showed a white male with a military crew cut.
The suspect used two phone numbers to contact the woman, both of which were listed under the home of Bradley Alonzo Bellamy, 17, of Longs.
According to the report, the real Officer Jernigan had previously dealt with Bellamy in a separate incident. WMBF News cannot report on what that incident is, because it is sealed in juvenile records.
An officer then contacted Bellamy's mother, who stated she would bring her son to the police department to meet with officers.
When asked if it was scary to find out this person wasn't who she thought he was, Godwin said it was very scary. "It was just, it made me feel so sick because I thought it was somebody I could trust and it was a little kid," Godwin said. "I've seen several things he's been charged with and I know if I would have met him, there's no telling what would have happened."
According to online records with the J. Reuben Long Detention Center, Bellamy was booked Friday and has been charged with two counts of impersonating a police officer. He was released Saturday.
WMBF News went by Bellamy's home to give him a chance to tell his side of the story. No one was home, but a neighbor said he was shocked to hear about the teen being in trouble. He described Bellamy as a "good kid."