A man known around the country by the nickname the “Piggyback Bandit” is now behind bars in Morgan County.
Sherwin Shayegan, 35, was arrested on Sunday in Hoover, AL on a harassment charge after he jumped on the back of a football player during a pep rally at Falkville High School earlier this month.
According to the Falkville Police Chief, Chris Free, Shayegan jumped on the back of the player without his consent. When the teen realized it wasn’t another student, he got him off his back.
At that point, Free said Shayegan handed the student a note and walked away. The student pocketed the note and didn’t look at until after the rally.
When he did inspect it, Free said the note contained a $20 bill and described the teen by saying that he looked good in shorts and had a nice rear end.
The player showed the note to his coaches and mom, who alerted police.
Through their investigation, Falkville Police developed Shayegan as a suspect and posted to Facebook asking the public to let them know if anyone knew his whereabouts. The office received a number of tips about seeing him at local restaurants.
Police used subpoenas and other investigative tools to learn that Shayegan was dropped by an Uber driver in Hoover.
Shayegan earned the nickname of “Piggyback Bandit” after he was found to be involved in dozens of similar instances around the country.
Back in 2012, the Associated Press reported that he was banned from attending high school sporting events in Washington Oregon, Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota.
According to the AP, Shayegan, a resident of Bothell, Wash., shows up to high school sporting events and will try to solicit piggyback rides from players, either by asking or just jumping on their backs.
The AP reports that this behavior started back in 2008 primarily in the Washington and Oregon area. Since then, he has popped up in several locations around the United States, including in Alabama, according to Chief Free.
Free said on Monday, he will be working with the Morgan County District Attorney’s office to determine if Shayegan could face further charges, including possible felonies.
Free pointed to cases against Shayegan in Washington and New Jersey that were particularly troubling.
On December 30, 2017, NJ.com reported that Shayegan was arrested by Port Authority Police after they said he touched the back of a 14-year-old boy near the luggage carousel at Newark Airport and passed him a note that read in part, “This is money for letting me give you a massage. Thank you.”
In a lengthy profile of Shayegan published by Grantland, Shayegan's mother, Rana, said her son has Asperger's.
"Sherwin often used Asperger’s syndrome to explain his actions, most recently to Lawrence and Ranalli in Helena. But in Fargo, Sherwin adopted it as an integral part of his cover story," Grantland's Bryan Curtis reported.
Shayegan is currently being held at the Morgan County Jail without bond.
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