Records obtained by The Orlando Sentinel show that Milwaukee Bucks center Robin Lopez unwittingly bought stolen Disney World memorabilia.
According to audio interviews released by the Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office to the Sentinel, Lopez was in possession of clothes taken off Buzzy, the animatronic star of the long-shuttered Cranium Command attraction at Epcot.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office had been investigating the role of Patrick Spikes, a former Disney World employee that posted backstage photos on a Twitter account called BackDoorDisney, in the theft. That led to Brett Finley, a Disney collector and accountant from Winter Park, who admitted to detectives that he bought the items after Spikes told him none of them were stolen.
“It’s really frustrating that you get scammed into these things,” Finley said. “If it’s not legit, we don’t want it. [Lopez], he’s a high-profile, like you said. I’m a CPA. I have a family.”
Among the photos taken from Spikes’ phone that had been included in a previous public records request made by Orlando Rising was a screenshot showing Finley had paid Spikes $2,500. Finley told detectives he gave Spikes more than $8,000 for items that included signs from shuttered attractions like The Great Movie Ride and Body Wars, as well as a dress from the Haunted Mansion.
Spikes and his cousin, Blaytin Taunton, face multiple charges related to allegedly stealing and selling items from the Haunted Mansion. This is the first mention of The Great Movie Ride or Body Wars in the case.
During the course of interviews with Finley, OCSO detectives acknowledged they are investigating the theft of $500,000 worth of items.
This includes the Buzzy animatronic itself, which was reported stolen months after the separate theft of the clothes in August 2018. Despite the logistics involved with such a theft — the animatronic was left hooked up to hydraulic lines inside its former theater space at Epcot — and unfounded conspiracies that Buzzy had always remained in Disney’s possessions, the case remains unsolved a year later.
“The animatronic has not been recovered and it is an open and active investigation,” OCSO investigators told Orlando Rising on Oct. 24.
OCSO had first confirmed to Orlando Rising in May that Buzzy had indeed been stolen.
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