A man who made headlines around the country as the “Piggyback Bandit” is accused of rubbing a 20-year-old man’s shoulders at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Police obtained a warrant charging 34-year-old Sherwin Shayegan with simple assault and urged anyone who knows of Shayegan’s whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
The victim, who lives in Florida, called police on Thursday after recognizing Shayegan in a news report about his arrest in a similar incident involving a teenager at Newark Liberty International Airport, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said Friday.
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The victim in the Charlotte case had been traveling in Charlotte last April when Shayegan handed him an envelope after rubbing his shoulders, police said. The envelope had $10 in it and a note thanking him for allowing the massage, according to police.
The victim provided the note to police, CMPD said.
In the Dec. 29 assault at Newark’s airport, Shayegan is accused of touching a 14-year-old at a luggage carousel and giving him a note that said, “This is money for letting me give you a massage. Thank you,” according to The Kansas City Star. Port Authority police said the note also included “alarming content” but released no other details.
Police in the Newark case tracked him to a nearby hotel. Shayegan, who lives in Bothell, Wash., had what police described as “disturbing notes” and money in envelopes with the names of U.S. airports written on them, the Star reported.
The New York Daily News described Shayegan as someone “who likes to get high school athletes to give him piggyback rides.”
Since 2008, Shayegan has been banned from high school sporting events in Washington, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota, The Associated Press reported in 2012.
He has been arrested coast-to-coast in connection with similar incidents, according to media reports.
In October 2011, he was charged with assault after hoisting himself onto two soccer players in Helena, Mont., the Daily News reported. He received a one-year suspended sentence and had to pay a $730 fine.
He also has more than a dozen convictions in Washington, ranging from trespassing to drug possession, according to the Daily News.
In December 2014, Shayegan was arrested in Maryland for assault and battery for an incident in Loudoun County, Va., the Fauquier Times in Warrenton, Va., reported. Police said he “grabbed the arm of a juvenile victim and attempted to have him go into a locker room at the hockey rink” during a high school game at a local ice rink, according to the newspaper.
In an extensive profile of Shayegan in 2012, a writer for the publication Grantland quoted Shayegan’s mother as saying her son has Asperger’s syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum.
A former classmate told the magazine that Shayegan “stood out” at their high school, but serving as manager for several sports teams “helped him get into the social norm,” she said. “It made a kid with Asperger’s feel he belonged.”
A headline in Time magazine that year read: “Actually, We Should All Feel Sorry for the ‘Piggyback Bandit.’ ”