What we know about the Chiefsaholic bank robbery case

In December, a bank robbery in a small Oklahoma town made national headlines after Xaviar Babudar, a popular Kansas City Chiefs superfan, was arrested and charged. Known as Chiefsaholic, a fixture at Kansas City games in a gray wolf suit, Babudar was accused of pointing a black pistol at a bank teller and fleeing with $150,000 from the Tulsa Teachers Credit Union in Bixby, Oklahoma. He pleaded not guilty.

In March, one month after Babudar was released on bond, he removed his ankle monitor and went on the run. Four months later, he was apprehended by the FBI in California. Upon his arrest, he was accused of a string of previously unsolved robberies in the Midwest.

An ESPN investigation uncovered that much of what Babudar posted about himself on his popular social media accounts was not true, and that he and his family had no fixed address and a long history of petty crimes and run-ins with police. Babudar often posted screenshots of betting slips, including $5,000 bets on the Chiefs to win last year’s Super Bowl and quarterback Patrick Mahomes to win NFL regular-season MVP.

As SC Featured presents a new documentary on Babudar’s story, “Where Wolf,” here’s what we know about the case. Stream “Where Wolf” on ESPN+ starting Monday.

What are the charges Babudar faces?

In Oklahoma, Babudar has been charged with robbery with a firearm and assault while masked or disguised, as well as removing an electronic monitoring device. Robbery with a firearm carries a sentence of five years to life in prison in Oklahoma, while assault while masked or disguised ranges from two to five years, according to the Tulsa county district attorney’s office.

After his second arrest, a federal grand jury indicted Babudar on 19 counts of armed bank robbery, bank theft, money laundering and transporting stolen property across state lines. Authorities allege he robbed or attempted to rob banks and credit unions in Iowa, Minnesota, Tennessee and Nebraska from April 2022 through December and laundered more than $1 million in chips through various casinos in Missouri, Kansas and Illinois.

Babudar’s cellphone was placed in the same locations as the previously unsolved bank robberies and attempted robberies, according to an affidavit.

Authorities have also introduced evidence linking Babudar to two more robberies, in California and Nevada, while he was a fugitive.

All told, Babudar is accused of stealing more than $800,000.

He pleaded not guilty to both the state and federal charges.

Did he ever receive his gambling winnings?

Federal authorities confirmed that Babudar received a check for $100,000 — his winnings for the two $5,000 Chiefs-related bets — on March 24. Three days later, he removed his ankle monitor and went on the run.

Where is Babudar now?

Babudar is awaiting trial at Leavenworth federal prison in Kansas. His trial for the federal charges is scheduled to begin in April.

What has he said?

Babudar declined multiple interview requests, but in September, he did provide written answers to questions submitted by ESPN through his attorney, Matthew Merryman. Babudar, on Merryman’s advice, did not address specifics about his case but expressed sorrow for any negative attention he has brought to his family and the Chiefs’ fan base.

“I have a ton of anxiety about how this is affecting my mother and brother, because I know this is extremely hard on them,” Babudar wrote. “There is not a day that passes where I’m not thinking about them. For a long time I was the sole provider for them. And now I cannot fulfill my obligations.”

“I am also deeply sorry for the unwanted attention this entire situation has brought on my family, my friends and all of my supporters across the Chiefs Kingdom,” he wrote.

Babudar wrote that donning the wolf suit and developing the Chiefsaholic persona on social media gave him an identity and “made people remember my name,” but that it also came with pressure, especially on social media, to live up to fans’ expectations.

He wrote that he would try to follow Chiefs games in prison by listening on a battery-powered hand radio and that he hoped fans would continue to support him.

“I believe that I will always be a part of the Chiefs Kingdom, and that I am no better and no worse than any other fan. But I know there will always be room in the Kingdom for me.”

How have Chiefs fans reacted to his arrest?

Chiefsaholic was a popular, almost beloved figure among the fan base. Chiefs fans followed his social media posts, including his weekly hype videos before games. Parents had their kids take pictures with him at tailgates, and fans who got closer to him often texted with him to discuss the Chiefs and betting.

There have been mixed reactions since his arrests, with some fans expressing their hopes that Babudar’s story goes away and does not taint the Chiefs Kingdom.

Lynn Schmidt, another Chiefs superfan who is known as “Weird Wolf,” told ESPN: “I’ve heard from a lot of people. There are some that are just incensed with the idea that he took down the Chiefs’ fandom the way he did with what he’s done. There are others that take a much more light-hearted approach to it and it’s just all kind of funny to them.

“I think the majority of the fan base, now that we know the truth about what was going on with his life, are glad that he’s kind of out of the picture.”

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