As the main hitter of the Kansas City Chiefs, Xavier Babudar, known to fans as ChiefsAholic, has attended almost every game, home and away. Given the high price of football tickets, it was a high-flying lifestyle that Mr. Babudar attributed to successful warehouses he managed across the Midwest.
But the money that financed Mr. Babudar’s travels, federal prosecutors say, appears to have come, in part, from a more illicit source. Mr. Babudar is accused of carrying out a series of bank robberies across at least six states over the past year, including Iowa, where he is accused of stealing $70,000.
Mr. Babudar, 29, was arrested near Sacramento, Calif., on Friday, where federal agents charged him with one count of bank robbery and one count of transporting stolen property across state lines, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri said. . said in a statement. It came four months after he fled prosecution in Oklahoma in connection with a different bank robbery.
That theft is one of seven Mr. Babudar was accused of committing or attempting to commit between April 2022 and December 2022, according to court documents unsealed Monday. Prosecutors said Mr. Babudar bought and redeemed more than $1 million in chips from casinos across the Midwest that appeared to be connected to the stolen money. A grand jury will determine whether Mr. Babudar will be indicted on the additional charges, the statement added.
Federal prosecutors in Missouri declined to comment on Mr. Babudar’s case.
In December, Mr. Babudar was charged with robbing a credit union in Tulsa, Okla., using a handgun that he aimed at a teller’s face. He was released in February after the bail bondsman, who was also a Kansas City Chiefs fan, agreed to post Mr. Babudar’s $80,000 bail. A month later, police said he cut his ankle monitor and disappeared.
Tracy Tiernan, Mr. Babudar’s attorney in Oklahoma, said he had not been in contact with Mr. Babudar since.
“I still haven’t had any communication with him other than the two or three texts asking him where he is and begging him to come back,” Mr Tiernan said.
Four months after his escape, federal agents found and arrested Mr. Babudar in California. He appeared Tuesday afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, where a judge ordered him to remain in jail without bail until he could be transferred back to Missouri. The date for the court hearing has not been set, according to a spokeswoman for the US District Court in Missouri.
The Tulsa County district attorney, Steve Kunzweiler, thanked federal agents for finding and arresting Mr. Babudar and said he still plans to prosecute in Oklahoma. After Mr. Babudar escaped from a Tulsa jail, a judge issued an arrest warrant and a new bond, this time set at $1 million.
“Tulsa County was the first jurisdiction to arrest and charge Babudar in December 2022,” Mr. Kunzweiler said. “My office will work with the United States Attorney in the Western District of Missouri to determine the next steps to hold him accountable,” he added.
For years, Mr. Babudar, known for his exuberant persona and signature wolf costume, was a fixture at Kansas City Chiefs games. He was featured regularly on NFL broadcasts and had tens of thousands of followers on Twitter under his handle @ChiefsAholic. (The account is now managed by a different user.)
But his appearance in a Tulsa jail in December, and his walk on a sled, punctured his image as an enterprising, affable football fan. A new story presented by law enforcement and prosecutors portrayed a rootless man living in his car with a record of petty crimes like shoplifting.
“He’s had a bad hand dealt to him in life,” Mr. Tiernan said, referring to Mr. Babudar. “He had no guidance from his father, and he struggled with homelessness. It was an awfully difficult climate for a teenager to cope with.”