ORLANDO, Fla. — Recent charges from the Florida State Attorney's office have shed more light on the lucrative black market for Disney collectibles.
A former Disney World employee and his cousin are facing numerous charges after investigators say they stole thousands of dollars in props from the Haunted Mansion ride and sold them online between July 2018 and Jan. 8, 2019.
The Florida State Attorney's Office filed charges against Patrick Spikes and Blaytin Taunton for dealing in stolen property, third-degree grand theft of $10,000 or more, burglary and attempted tampering with evidence.
Investigators say Spikes used to run Twitter account @BackDoorDisney, which showed "behind the magic" -- photos of backstage areas and unmasked characters that park guests don't see.
Arrest affidavits say Spikes had his cousin, Taunton, make fake IDs so Spikes could sneak into the Haunted Mansion ride. Investigators say he stole $7,200 worth of wigs and costumes from the attraction and sold them online for nearly $30,000.
Back in August 2018, Disney World reported that clothes from Epcot animatronic "Buzzy" were stolen, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The attraction "Cranium Command" closed in 2007.
Then, Spikes' account posted pictures of Buzzy, still dressed, in October 2018. The clothes were valued at $7,000.
The Sentinel said the park later learned the entire animatronic was missing, but according to an arrest report, Spikes denied any involvement in the stolen prop.
When Spikes was brought in for questioning, law enforcement seized his phone and found pictures of numerous pieces of Disney park property that was later determined to be stolen.
Financial records pulled by investigators showed Spikes received more than $29,000 in payments to his PayPal account from a couple. The arrest report said the couple told investigators that Spikes sold them multiple items, including a dress from the Haunted Mansion.
The couple said they had bought 18 items from Spikes, who said they were obtained with Disney permission.
Other reports from the State Attorney's Office detail how Spikes and his cousin snuck into the ride and backstage areas using fake Disney ID badges. Spikes and Taunton reportedly took photos of animatronics and other props backstage in the Haunted Mansion while about 1,000 guests per hour were riding the ride.
10News reached out for comment and Disney responded with the following statement:
“He does not work here. We do not have a comment given this is a law enforcement matter.”
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