Football Superfan Caught in California and Charged in ,000 Bank Theft

As the Kansas City Chiefs’ main hype man, Xavier Babudar, known by fans as ChiefsAholic, attended nearly every game, at home and away. Given the hefty price of football tickets, it was a high-flying lifestyle, which Mr. Babudar attributed to successful warehouses he managed across the Midwest.

But the money that funded Mr. Babudar’s travels, federal prosecutors say, appears to have come, in part, from a more illicit source. Mr. Babudar is accused of committing a string of bank robberies across at least six states over the last year, including in Iowa, where he is accused of stealing $70,000.

Mr. Babudar, 29, was arrested near Sacramento, Calif., on Friday, where federal agents charged him with one count of bank theft and one count of transporting stolen property across state lines, the United States Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri said in a statement. It came four months after he fled prosecution in Oklahoma in connection to a different bank robbery.

That robbery is one of seven Mr. Babudar was accused of committing or attempting between April 2022 and December 2022, according to court documents unsealed on Monday. Prosectors said Mr. Babudar had purchased and redeemed more than $1 million worth of chips from casinos across the Midwest that appeared to be connected to the stolen money. A grand jury will determine whether Mr. Babudar will be indicted on the additional charges, the statement added.

Federal prosecutors in Missouri declined to comment on Mr. Babudar’s case.

In December, Mr. Babudar was accused of robbing a credit union in Tulsa, Okla., using a pistol he aimed at a teller’s face. He was released in February after the bail bondsman, who was also a Kansas City Chiefs fan, agreed to post Mr. Babudar’s $80,000 bail. A month later, the police said he severed his ankle monitor and disappeared.

Tracy Tiernan, Mr. Babudar’s lawyer in Oklahoma, said he had not been in contact with Mr. Babudar since.

“I still have had no communication whatsoever with him other than the two or three texts asking him where he is and pleading him to come back,” Mr. Tiernan said.

Four months after his escape, federal agents found and arrested Mr. Babudar in California. He appeared on Tuesday afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, where a judge ordered that he remain in custody without bail until he could be transferred back to Missouri. The date for the court hearing has not been set, according to a spokesman for the U.S. District Court in Missouri.

The Tulsa County district attorney, Steve Kunzweiler, thanked federal agents for finding and arresting Mr. Babudar and said he still planned to pursue prosecution in Oklahoma. After Mr. Babudar escaped from a Tulsa jail, a judge had issued an arrest warrant and a new bond, this time set at $1 million.

“Tulsa County was the first jurisdiction to arrest and charge Babudar in December 2022,” Mr. Kunzweiler said. “My office will work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri to determine the next steps in holding him accountable,” he added.

For years, Mr. Babudar, known for his exuberant persona and signature wolf costume, was a fixture at Kansas City Chiefs games. He was featured regularly on N.F.L. broadcasts and had tens of thousands of followers on Twitter under his handle @ChiefsAholic. (The account is now run by a different user.)

But his appearance in a Tulsa jail in December, and his going on the lam, punctured his image as an enterprising, affable football fan. A new narrative presented by law enforcement and prosecutors portrayed a rootless man living in his car with a record of petty crimes like shoplifting.

“He had a bad hand dealt to him in life,” Mr. Tiernan said, referring to Mr. Babudar. “He had no guidance from his father, and he struggled with homelessness. It was a terrifically difficult climate for a teenager to endure.”

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