High school sports officials in Minnesota are on the lookout for the "Piggyback Bandit."
Sherwin Shayegan, 28, apparently delights in jumping on the backs of student athletes, and officials in Washington state, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon and now Minnesota don't know why.
On Wednesday, he was spotted in Moorhead at a Concordia College men's basketball game against St. Olaf College, Minnesota State High School League executive director Dave Stead said. On Thursday, he was spotted at an event in St. Cloud. And Friday, there was a reported sighting in Minneapolis.
Apparently none of the Minnesota appearances involved jumping on athletes.
On Friday morning, Stead got a phone call from the Piggyback Bandit himself, after Shayegan learned that the MSHSL had banned him from all events at the league's 400-some schools.
"He asked me if he had been banned from high school activities in Minnesota,'' Stead said of the six-minute conversation. "I told him, yes, he had. He asked me if I could send him something in writing that said he was banned. I said I could do that. I asked him where to send it, and he said to his address in Washington. It was a very amicable conversation. He knows his past behavior has been bad.''
Stead said Shayegan told him he was on a bus heading back to Washington. Of the ban, he said, "It's the first time in my career I have ever had to do something like this."
In Washington, Shayegan has been convicted of burglary, theft, criminal impersonation and trespassing, according to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.
"Sherwin Shayegan has been known to travel to school events, enter through pass gates or purchase a ticket, and attempt to join a school on the field/court/deck/locker room. He offers the team water and/or Gatorade to pose as the team manager. He may try to wear the apparel of that school," the association says on its website.
Concluded Stead: "I think he is just traveling from place to place. You just never know when he will do something more dangerous than what he has already done."
The following is the memo that Stead emailed to MSHSL member schools and the media on Friday:
To: Member Schools
From: David V. Stead, Executive Director
Re: Sherwin Shayegan aka “The Piggyback Bandit”
Date: February 10, 2012
On Thursday afternoon, February 9, 2012, I was notified that the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA) had banned Sherwin Shayegan from any NDHSAA sanctioned event at any member school in North Dakota. Shayegan has also been banned from school activities in Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
Shayegan has been known to mingle in a crowd at a sporting activity and, at a point in time, jump on the back of athletes. He did so at a soccer game in Montana where he was arrested and plead guilty to two assault charges. He was recently seen in Bismarck, ND where he attended three high school sporting events, and it was reported that he found his way into a locker room.
On February 9, 2012, Shayegan was seen in St. Cloud, MN, and he is now known to be in Minneapolis today, February 10, 2012.
Sherwin Shayegan is known to cause a direct threat to the health and safety of student athletes and others. Therefore, in my capacity as the Executive Director of the Minnesota State High School League and on behalf of the member schools of the Minnesota State High School League, I am immediately banning Sherwin Shayegan from all MSHSL regular season and post-season MSHSL-sponsored athletic and fine arts activities.
I have attached the notices sent to the member schools in North Dakota, Oregon, and Montana. A similar notice was sent to schools in the state of Washington.
If Sherwin Shayegan is found to be in your school or school community, I suggest that you immediately take action as appropriate to address his attendance at your events, contact the local police department, and notify the League office regarding his sighting.