Local

Florida man disguised as cast member stole $10,000 ‘R2-D2’ replica from Disney hotel, deputies say

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orange County deputies have arrested a man they say disguised himself as a cast member as part of a scheme to steal Walt Disney World property.

>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<

Deputies were called to the Swan Reserve Hotel on May 31 after security officers there spotted 44-year-old David Proudfoot pushing a cart across the property, but noted he appeared to be confused about where he was going.

READ: Weather scrubs launch of ULA Atlas V rocket, next attempt Friday

According to a sheriff’s office report, when deputies made contact with Proudfoot, he was wearing a Walt Disney World-issued name tag with the name “David” on it and an orange work vest.

The report says Proudfoot initially identified himself to the deputies as David Rodgers, but Walt Disney Security confirmed they had no record of an employee by that name.

The report says Proudfoot made several more attempts to stall the deputies’ investigation, at one point wandering around the grounds in an attempt to locate an employee locker room.

Eventually, Proudfoot was simply asked to take out his wallet which had identification confirming his actual name.

Once identified, deputies say Proudfoot admitted to moving items on the property, including a replica of R2-D2 valued between $6,000 and $10,000.

According to the report, Proudfoot claimed he had a pending application with Walt Disney World Security and moved the property to “show weaknesses in the security of the resorts,” with the hope of getting a better job there.

READ: Child struck by lightning in Hillsborough County, NWS says

Proudfoot claimed he moved the items to an “unknown location” and never intended to take them off of the property.

Proudfoot was arrested and charged with grand theft. He was also charged with obstruction for the hours he spent distracting investigators and hiding his identity from them.

After his arrest, Proudfoot was linked to theft reports from weeks earlier at multiple other Disney hotels.

On May 16, management at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge reported several items stolen from the gym area and two restrooms on the property.

The missing items included custom Disney World lighting fixtures and a custom towel cabinet valued at more than $6,000 total.

Deputies say Proudfoot later admitted to breaking into three separate arcade machines at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Boardwalk Resort, and the Grand Floridian Resort.

READ: Central Florida judge facing suspension for being threatening, using profanity

Investigators say they later searched Proudfoot’s home in Kissimmee where they found many of the items that had been reported stolen.

Proudfoot has been in the Orange County jail since May 31 on the grand theft and obstruction charges. He’s now facing additional counts of grand theft, and felony fraud.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.


Latest Trending