Piggyback Bandit Banned

February 17, 2012 by staff 

Piggyback Bandit Banned, When the man in a basketball uniform showed up for a game at Century High School in Bismark, North Dakota, everyone thought he was a fan with the other team. Nobody objected when he began to pitch in.

“He helped lay out uniforms, got water. He even gave a couple of kids shoulder massages,” said Jim Haussler, activities director for the Bismarck Public School District.

After the game, the man joined the winning team on the court and asked if he could get a piggyback ride. One bemused player gave it to him.

“We didn’t realize what we were dealing with until several days later,” Haussler said.

What they were dealing with the night of Feb. 4 was the Piggyback Bandit. Sherwin Shayegan of Bothell, Wash., is a 28-year-old man who ingratiates himself with high school sports teams, then hoists his 5-foot-8, 240-pound frame onto the backs of the student athletes.

He began in 2008, mostly in Washington and Oregon. But since last fall, he has worked his way east to Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota, leaving a trail of befuddled athletes in his wake.

Shayegan has asked for piggybacks, attempted to pay for piggybacks and just sprung one upon an unsuspecting kid. He favors basketball games but also has leapt onto hockey, soccer and football players.

He has pretended to interview athletes for a term paper, acted as a team manager or just tried to blend in with the crowd for a piggyback payoff.

Why he does it is unclear, as is who came up with the “Piggyback Bandit” nickname. Shayegan, contacted on his cellphone Tuesday, politely declined to talk about it until he could talk to an attorney.

“I’d prefer not to comment, if that’s OK,” he said.

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