ESPN Senior Writer
- Elizabeth Merrill is simply a elder writer for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. She antecedently wrote for The Kansas City Star and The Omaha World-Herald.
ESPN Staff Writer
- Joined ESPN successful 2014
- Journalist covering gambling manufacture since 2008
Nov 19, 2023, 08:12 AM ET
In December, a slope robbery successful a tiny Oklahoma municipality made nationalist headlines aft Xaviar Babudar, a fashionable Kansas City Chiefs superfan, was arrested and charged. Known arsenic Chiefsaholic, a fixture astatine Kansas City games successful a grey wolf suit, Babudar was accused of pointing a achromatic pistol astatine a slope teller and fleeing with $150,000 from the Tulsa Teachers Credit Union successful Bixby, Oklahoma. He pleaded not guilty.
In March, 1 period aft Babudar was released connected bond, helium removed his ankle show and went connected the run. Four months later, helium was apprehended by the FBI successful California. Upon his arrest, helium was accused of a drawstring of antecedently unsolved robberies successful the Midwest.
An ESPN probe uncovered that overmuch of what Babudar posted astir himself connected his fashionable societal media accounts was not true, and that helium and his household had nary fixed code and a agelong past of petty crimes and run-ins with police. Babudar often posted screenshots of betting slips, including $5,000 bets connected the Chiefs to triumph past year's Super Bowl and backmost Patrick Mahomes to triumph NFL regular-season MVP.
As SC Featured presents a caller documentary connected Babudar's story, "Where Wolf," here's what we cognize astir 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 battle portion masked oregon disguised, arsenic good arsenic removing an physics monitoring device. Robbery with a firearm carries a condemnation of 5 years to beingness successful situation successful Oklahoma, portion battle portion masked oregon disguised ranges from 2 to 5 years, according to the Tulsa region territory attorney's office.
After his 2nd arrest, a national expansive assemblage indicted Babudar connected 19 counts of equipped slope robbery, slope theft, wealth laundering and transporting stolen spot crossed authorities lines. Authorities allege helium robbed oregon attempted to rob banks and recognition unions successful Iowa, Minnesota, Tennessee and Nebraska from April 2022 done December and laundered much than $1 cardinal successful chips done assorted casinos successful Missouri, Kansas and Illinois.
Babudar's cellphone was placed successful the aforesaid locations arsenic the antecedently unsolved slope robberies and attempted robberies, according to an affidavit.
Authorities person besides introduced grounds linking Babudar to 2 much robberies, successful California and Nevada, portion helium was a fugitive.
All told, Babudar is accused of stealing much than $800,000.
He pleaded not blameworthy to some the authorities and national charges.
Did helium ever person his gambling winnings?
Federal authorities confirmed that Babudar received a cheque for $100,000 -- his winnings for the 2 $5,000 Chiefs-related bets -- connected March 24. Three days later, helium removed his ankle show and went connected the run.
Where is Babudar now?
Babudar is awaiting proceedings astatine Leavenworth national situation successful Kansas. His proceedings for the national charges is scheduled to statesman successful April.
What has helium said?
Babudar declined aggregate interrogation requests, but successful September, helium did supply written answers to questions submitted by ESPN done his attorney, Matthew Merryman. Babudar, connected Merryman's advice, did not code specifics astir his lawsuit but expressed sorrow for immoderate antagonistic attraction helium has brought to his household and the Chiefs' instrumentality base.
"I person a ton of anxiousness astir however this is affecting my parent and brother, due to the fact that I cognize this is highly hard connected them," Babudar wrote. "There is not a time that passes wherever I'm not reasoning astir them. For a agelong clip I was the sole supplier for them. And present I cannot fulfill my obligations."
"I americium besides profoundly atrocious for the unwanted attraction this full concern has brought connected my family, my friends and each of my supporters crossed the Chiefs Kingdom," helium wrote.
Babudar wrote that donning the wolf suit and processing the Chiefsaholic persona connected societal media gave him an individuality and "made radical retrieve my name," but that it besides came with pressure, particularly connected societal media, to unrecorded up to fans' expectations.
He wrote that helium would effort to travel Chiefs games successful situation by listening connected a battery-powered manus vigor and that helium hoped fans would proceed to enactment him.
"I judge that I volition ever beryllium a portion of the Chiefs Kingdom, and that I americium nary amended and nary worse than immoderate different fan. But I cognize determination volition ever beryllium country successful the Kingdom for me."
How person Chiefs fans reacted to his arrest?
Chiefsaholic was a popular, astir beloved fig among the instrumentality base. Chiefs fans followed his societal media posts, including his play hype videos earlier games. Parents had their kids instrumentality pictures with him astatine tailgates, and fans who got person to him often texted with him to sermon the Chiefs and betting.
There person been mixed reactions since his arrests, with immoderate fans expressing their hopes that Babudar's communicative goes distant and does not taint the Chiefs Kingdom.
Lynn Schmidt, different Chiefs superfan who is known arsenic "Weird Wolf," told ESPN: "I've heard from a batch of people. There are immoderate that are conscionable incensed with the thought that helium took down the Chiefs' fandom the mode helium did with what he's done. There are others that instrumentality a overmuch much light-hearted attack to it and it's conscionable each benignant of comic to them.
"I deliberation the bulk of the instrumentality base, present that we cognize the information astir what was going connected with his life, are gladsome that he's benignant of retired of the picture."