Sherwin Shayegan (above), 28, is currently banned from high school athletic events in Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Montana and North Dakota. Not for heckling referees, verbally abusing players or interfering with play, but rather, for jumping on the backs of teenage athletes. Hence the media dubbing Shayegan, “The Piggyback Bandit”, though at the moment he’s stolen absolutely nothing (except perhaps the hearts of adolescents who’ve always dreamed of role-playing as a pony for a man authorities describe as “disturbing”). From Fox Sports North’s Tyler Mason ;
In 2010, Shayegan was banned from high school games in Oregon by the Oregon School Activities Association after he made his way into a locker room without permission following a basketball tournament and asked for autographs from the players. He later sought piggyback rides from players in the parking lot and jumped on their backs.
Last October in Helena, Mont., he was overheard in his hotel lobby saying that he was going to jump on kids’ backs at the state’s Class AA soccer tournament. A hotel clerk called the police when she heard that, and plainclothes officers were sent to the soccer fields. Shayegan was arrested when he jumped on a kid’s back at the soccer fields. Officials learned that he had also done the same thing earlier in the day, and Shayegan was charged with two counts of assault.
“What he does is he impersonates an avid fan, kind of plays in between so both schools aren’t quite sure who he belongs to,” said Jim Haussler, the activities director for Bismarck Public Schools. “And then what he does is he befriends some of the student-athletes. He’ll even get water for athletes (and) fold uniforms. When he was at our place, he dressed in basketball attire and appeared to be an adult with special needs.”
Haussler has been Bismarck’s activities director for 22 years. During that time, he said he’s never seen anything quite like the Piggyback Bandit.
“I don’t think unusual is the right descriptor,” he said. “I think creepy is a much better description of the type of behavior he was exhibiting. It created quite a stir among parents once they realized who he was.”