UPDATE: On Oct. 16, 2019, the Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office dropped the charge of “attempted tampering with physical evidence” against Patrick Spikes. We have updated our original story to reflect this development.
The man behind the BackDoorDisney account may soon be on trial for charges that he stole costumes from a Disney World attraction. But first, one charge has been removed from the case.
Patrick Spikes, a 25-year-old former Disney employee, became infamous among Disney fans for posting photos from off-limits areas of the theme parks under the BackDoorDisney Twitter account.
He also attracted the attention of law enforcement. First, on Dec. 19, 2018, Spikes was arrested on the charge of resisting an officer without violence after Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) detectives alleged he refused to hand over his phone when presented with a search warrant.
The Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office later said the charge wasn’t suitable for prosecution. The incident fueled the initial rumor that the Epcot animatronic known as Buzzy was stolen — a rumor later confirmed to Orlando Rising by the OSCO on multiple occasions, though Spikes has never been charged in relation to that theft.
Fast forward to May 2019, when OCSO arrested Spikes on charges that he and a friend, Blaytin Taunton, allegedly snuck into the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom and stole costumes, wigs, and a tiara valued at more than $7,000. According to police, Spikes later sold the stolen items.
By the time Spikes and Taunton entered not guilty pleas in September, Spikes was now facing five counts, including a charge of “alleged tampering with physical evidence” based on the Dec. 19 arrest.
Spikes’ attorney, LeRoy Costner, argued that the charge has to be removed from the casel. Under Florida criminal procedures regarding the right to a speedy trial, prosecutors have 175 days after a person is arrested for a felony to bring that case to trial. According to Costner’s Oct. 4 filing, the time limit expired back in June.
“This Honorable Court must discharge the charges against the Defendant,” Costner’s filing stated.
Costner has not returned multiple requests for comment from Orlando Rising since he began representing Spikes. The state attorney’s office also did not respond to a request for comment.
The motion to dismiss the charge was to be the subject of an Oct. 17 court hearing. The day prior, however, the state attorney’s office filed a “Nolle prosequi” on the tampering charge, dropping it from the case.
Spikes is currently set to stand trial for the charges beginning on Oct. 28.
Despite the amount of security at Disney World, the theft of valuable items from attractions does not appear to be an isolated incident.
According to an OCSO report cited by The Orlando Sentinel, Disney has reported $20,000 worth of artifacts from rides have gone missing from storage units at the park. The items include a set of sails from Peter Pan’s Flight and three seats from Space Mountain.
Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately described the charges Spikes faced in Dec. 2018. He was arrested for resisting an officer without violence, not “with violence.” The story has now corrected and updated.