Monday, February 13, 2012

'Piggyback bandit' banned from sporting events

A so-called “piggyback bandit” is now banned from high school sporting events in five states after jumping or attempting to jump on the backs of high school athletes in North Dakota, Montana, Washington and Oregon. Last week, 28-year-old Sherwin Shayegan was banned from all games in North Dakota after showing up at three high school games in Bismarck. David Stead, executive director of the Minnesota State High School League said on Friday that Shayegan was seen in St. Cloud on Thursday and was known to be in Minneapolis on Friday.

Shayegan was spotted in Fargo earlier last week and at a Concordia College men’s basketball game in Moorhead on Wednesday. Jim Haussler, activities director for Bismarck (N.D.) Public Schools, said Shayegan contacted him by phone on Friday. Haussler said though Shayegan was apologetic, he seemed insincere. “It’s just a continuing pattern of deception. I think it was basically to feel out where the potential charges sit,” Haussler said.

Shayegan attempted to jump on the backs of several Bismarck students and was successful in a “couple” of attempts, Haussler said. Haussler said potential charges are now in the hands of Bismarck police. Shayegan, who is believed to weigh around 250 pounds and is from Seattle, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of assault last week after his arrest in Helena, Mont. He admitted jumping on two players at a soccer tournament in October.

Shayegan is a two-time felon convicted of burglary and theft, according to the Oregon School Activities Association. In Washington state, he has about two dozen convictions for trespassing as well as criminal impersonation and possession charges. Haussler said he believes Shayegan tries to befriend his victims, pretending to take part in the celebration of the game then jumping on their back. Shayegan also attempted to portray himself as being somewhat disabled, Haussler said. “It’s the creepiness of the behaviour that alarms most people. It’s a little creepy. Well, a lot creepy is more like it.”

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