Recently, a former Walt Disney World employee, Patrick Spikes, made news when he was arrested for allegedly selling off stolen costumes from Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion. However, fans who follow Walt Disney World news likely were already familiar with Spikes, as he had been suspected of other thefts. Now, new evidence has come to light which links Spikes to the theft of the famous Buzzy animatronic from Epcot several months ago, as Spikes apparently sold the animatronic's clothes to NBA player and noted Disney fan, Robin Lopez.
The Orlando Sentinel has heard audio tapes of an interview between Orange County Florida detectives and Brett Finley, a CPA and a friend of Milwaukee Bucs player Lopez. Finley himself is a big Disney fan, a collector of memorabilia, and a member of the exclusive Club 33. Finley was apparently aware that Lopez had purchased the clothing belonging to the Buzzy animatronic, though it seems it hadn't been made clear to the buyer that the items had been stolen. Finley says they specifically asked if the items had been stolen and were told they were not.
Finley himself appears to have spent a fair amount of money on Disney items from Patrick Spikes. He spent $8,000 on signs from the Great Movie Ride as well as a dress from the Haunted Mansion.
It seems that Patrick Spikes presented himself as a former Disney cast member who worked closely with Imagineers and through those connections had access to one-of-a-kind items.
Robin and his twin brother Brook both play for Milwaukee and are both avid and very public Disney fans. Both of them are already scheduled to appear at Disney Springs' new NBA Experience on Halloween.
Patrick Spikes, who ran the BackdoorDisney YouTube channel, which consisted largely of backstage footage in areas where the public is not allowed to go, had been previously connected with last year's disappearance of the Buzzy animatronic, a character that was part of a now shut down, but not yet fully dismantled, attraction inside Epcot.
What's unclear at this point is exactly what items Lopez ended up in possession of. Even if he has the entire Buzzy wardrobe, the animatronic itself is still unaccounted for. Finley confirms that Lopez was at least in possession of Buzzy's headset, as he claims to have seen it himself.
There have been a number of reported thefts and disappearances of props and costumes from Walt Disney World over the years, and several in the last few months. Over $20,000 worth of goods were reported missing just on October 1. Those goods went missing from a shed at Epcot, and Florida court records indicated Spikes has been charged with theft from a building at Epcot, though it's unclear if it's the same one.
Authorities are apparently investigating the theft of over $500,000 in Missing Walt Disney World items. In addition to the Epcot building burglary, Patrick Spikes and his cousin Blaytin Taunton have been charged with dealing in stolen property, grand theft, and burglarizing a structure at the Magic Kingdom, though it's unclear how much of the $500,000 worth of items that are being investigated the pair has currently been charged with.