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'Piggyback Bandit' Arrested In New Jersey

'Piggyback Bandit' Arrested In New Jersey Promo Image

A Washington state man who has been nicknamed the "Piggyback Bandit" has been arrested after allegedly assaulting a teenage boy at a New Jersey airport.

Sherwin Shayegan, 34, is accused of touching a 14-year-old boy by a luggage carousel at Newark Liberty International Airport on Dec. 29, according to The Kansas City Star. Shayegan reportedly gave the teen a note that read: "This is money for letting me give you a massage. Thank you."

According to police, the note included "alarming content," but the contents were not released.

When investigators traced Shayegan to a hotel near the Newark airport, they discovered that he had a number of "disturbing notes" containing money and the names of airports in the U.S. written on them.

Shayegan gained his nickname as the "Piggyback Bandit" after it was reported that he went to high school sports events, including hockey, soccer and football games, and asked high school athletes if they would give him piggyback rides.

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He reportedly offered to pay for the piggyback rides or jumped onto teens' backs after he had gained the team's confidence.

Shayegan, who weighs around 240 pounds, has Asperger's syndrome, according to his mother.

Shayegan was previously arrested in 2015 on assault and battery charges after an incident at a Virginia high school hockey game. Shayegan was set to serve two months of a 12-month sentence before undergoing a mental health evaluation.

Shayegan has been banned from schools in five states for a number of incidents, according to The Spokesman-Review.

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On Nov. 30, Shayegan was filmed walking through the hall in North Central High School in Spokane, and in early December was witnessed giving a student at Mead High School a shoulder rub.

Spokane Public Schools spokesman Kevin Morrison said that, earlier in 2017, Shayegan was asked to leave after he was "being disruptive" and "forward with students" at a football game at Rogers High School.

"They were feeling uncomfortable," said Morrison. "We had an administrator step in and ask him to leave. At first he kind of refused, so they were a little more adamant, so he left."

According to classmate Michele School, Shayegan had managed the football team at Inglemoor High School in his youth. "It helped him get into the social norm," said Schott.

"When he was the manager of the football team was when he started receiving piggybacks," said detective Randy Ranalli, Grantland reports. "He told us that's when it all started."

"I can't put my finger on it," said family friend Paul Huenefeldt. "Whether it's autism or there's something lacking in terms of his emotional development. But he's stuck in a time warp in terms of being an adolescent and wanting to be accepted and be a part of something."

Sources: Kansas City Star, Grantland, The Spokesman-Review / Featured Image: Juliana Su/Flickr / Embedded Images: Port Authority Police via People, Cathy T/Flickr

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