High schools in North Dakota and Minnesota were sent into bizarre statewide security scrambles on Friday over the sudden appearance of a disturbed man known as the "piggyback bandit" at a series of athletic events in the Upper Midwest.
As reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Fargo-Moorhead Forum, 28-year-old Sherwin Shayegan, more commonly referred to as the piggyback bandit, attempted to sneak up on student athletes and jump on their backs for piggyback rides in Bismarck, N.D.
"There were a number attempts to get piggyback rides, and he was successful at a couple of them," Bismarck Public Schools Activities Director Jim Haussler told KXNews. "He tried to make his way to locker rooms and was stopped."
The most recent incidents in North Dakota follow Shayegan's convictions for jumping on the backs of two Montana high school soccer players in October. The 250-pound Seattle native, who attends events wearing shorts and jerseys, was ordered to pay a $730 fine and was handed a one-year suspended jail sentence for those incidents.
While the judge in that case told Shayegan to return to his family's home in Seattle, he clearly isn't following those orders, leading to warnings in both North Dakota and Minnesota for fans and athletic directors to beware of his possible attendance at an area event.
In fact, concern was high enough in Minnesota that Minnesota State High School League Executive Director Dave Stead released an official advisory calling for anyone who sees Shayegan to immediate contact police.
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.
Luckily, no official Shayegan related piggybacking incidents were reported in the Twin Cities or other chilly Midwestern climes over the weekend (or at least none have been reported yet), though it's uncertain whether that relatively peaceful progression of events would have been possible without the initial alarm sounded by officials, as strange as they may have appeared to those unfamiliar with Shayegan's bizarre antics.