As the Kansas City Chiefs’ primary hype man, Xavier Babudar, known to fans as the ChiefsAholic, attended nearly every game, home and away. Given the high price of football tickets, it was an upscale lifestyle, which Mr. Babudar attributed to the successful warehouses he ran in the Midwest.
But the money that funded Mr Babudar’s trips, 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 in at least six states over the past year, including 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 robbery and one count of transporting stolen property across state lines, the office of the United States attorney in the Western District of Missouri said in a declaration. It happened four months after he fled prosecution in Oklahoma in connection with another bank robbery.
That robbery is one of seven that Mr. Babudar has been accused of committing or attempting between April 2022 and December 2022, according to court documents opened on Monday. Prosecutors said Mr. Babudar had bought and redeemed more than $1 million worth of chips from Midwestern casinos 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.
Missouri federal prosecutors declined to comment on Mr. Babudar’s case.
In December, Mr. Babudar was accused of robbing a credit union in Tulsa, Oklahoma, using a gun to a teller’s face. He was released in February after the bail bondsman, who was also a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, agreed to post Mr. Babudar’s $80,000 bail. A month later, police said he cut his ankle monitor and disappeared.
Tracy Tiernan, Mr. Babudar’s attorney in Oklahoma, said he hadn’t been in contact with Mr. Babudar since.
« I still haven’t had any communication with him other than the two or three messages asking where he was and begging him to come back, » Mr. Tiernan said.
Four months after his escape, federal agents found and arrested Mr. Babudar in California. He appeared Tuesday afternoon in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, where a judge ordered that he remain in custody without bail until he was transferred back to Missouri. A date for the court hearing has not been set, according to a spokesman for the US District Court in Missouri.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler thanked federal agents for finding and arresting Mr. Babudar and said he still plans to pursue the charge in Oklahoma. After Mr. Babudar escaped from a Tulsa jail, a judge issued a warrant for his arrest and new bail, this time set at $1 million.
“Tulsa County was the first jurisdiction to arrest and indict Babudar in December 2022,” Kunzweiler said. « My office will work with the United States Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri to determine next steps to hold him accountable, » she added.
For years, Mr. Babudar, known for his feisty persona and signature wolf costume, has been a fixture at Kansas City Chiefs games. He appeared regularly on NFL broadcasts and had tens of thousands of Twitter followers under his name @ChiefsAholic. (The account is now managed by another user.)
But his appearance in a Tulsa jail in December, and his escape, have punctured his image as an enterprising and affable soccer fan. A new narrative presented by law enforcement and prosecutors has portrayed a rootless man living in his car with a history of petty crimes such as shoplifting.
“He has had a bad hand in life,” Mr. Tiernan said, referring to Mr. Babudar. “He didn’t have his father’s guidance and struggled with homelessness. It was a terribly difficult climate for a teenager to bear.