A Brookline man was arrested Thursday, accused of attempting to extort money from retired Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, multiple news sources are reporting.
Police charged Joshua Roberts Van Auker, 26, on Thursday with two counts of criminal attempt, court documents show.
According to WTAE, Van Auker sent a text message on Wednesday, Oct. 17 to Ward's personal assistant indicating that if he did not receive money, Van Auker would either sell or release materials alleging Ward paid women for sex.
Van Auker also demanded $15,000, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, telling Ward through his assistant, "It's called buying silence, brother."
The assistant contacted investigators the same day to report Van Auker was trying to extort money because he believed his girlfriend had been involved in a prior physical relationship with Ward, the P-G reports.
On Thursday, authorities provided $15,000 to the assistant, who met Van Auker on Broad Street in Sewickley and gave him the money. Detectives with the Allegheny County district attorney's office arrested him after the exchange, WTAE reports.
Van Auker was awaiting arraignment Thursday night, according to court documents.