Florida Man Posing as Disney Worker Charged in Removal of R2-D2 at Hotel
A Florida man who said he applied for a security job at Walt Disney World in Florida wanted to impress his would-be bosses.
So, to highlight what he said was the company’s lax oversight, the man, David Proudfoot, donned the gray T-shirt, beige pants and Disney name tag worn by employees of a Disney resort, the Swan Reserve, and removed an R2-D2 “Star Wars” droid as well as an unidentified game machine, the authorities said.
R2-D2 might have been the droid he was looking for, but Mr. Proudfoot’s test of Disney’s security backfired: He was charged with grand theft and obstruction by false information, according to an arrest report dated May 31.
Mr. Proudfoot, 44, of Kissimmee, Fla., admitted to investigators that he moved the droid, which was valued up to $10,000, and the game machine, Deputy Christopher Wrzesien of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office wrote in the report.
Deputy Wrzesien wrote that Mr. Proudfoot had “temporarily moved” the droid from the third floor of the hotel to an unknown location. As for the game machine, Mr. Proudfoot told deputies that he had no intention of moving it off the property, according to the report.
He told investigators “he had an application for Walt Disney World Security pending and was moving the items to show weaknesses in the security of the resorts in the hope of securing a better-paying job at WDW,” the report said.
Mr. Proudfoot could not be reached for comment on Saturday and a lawyer for him was not immediately available. Representatives of Walt Disney World and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to requests for comment.
When the authorities first arrived at the Swan Reserve on May 31, they found Mr. Proudfoot disguised as a company worker, Deputy Wrzesien wrote.
He initially gave investigators a false name of David E. Rodgers, but no one by that name was employed by the company. Mr. Proudfoot also said his manager’s name was that of a Disney employee who worked in California, not Florida, according to the report.
Deputy Wrzesien accompanied Mr. Proudfoot to retrieve items from a locker, and Mr. Proudfoot took a route that seemed inconsistent with employee procedures, the report said.
“At one point David took us up to a stairwell that leads to the management offices,” Deputy Wrzesien wrote. “When I questioned David where we were going, he said ‘Oh, I thought you wanted to speak to my manager to verify my employment.’”
Investigators confirmed Mr. Proudfoot’s real name with a Florida driver’s license he had in his possession, the report said.
Mr. Proudfoot has been connected to other thefts at Disney-owned properties leading up to the R2-D2 case.
In January, at the Four Seasons Resort, sheriff’s records show he was tied to the theft of about $735 worth of bathroom products from the men’s locker room. The next month, he was arrested after buying a gold necklace worth more than $700 by identifying himself as a guest under a different name.
On May 16, Mr. Proudfoot was charged in connection with the theft of bathroom light fixtures and a towel cabinet from the gym at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. He also admitted to breaking into at least three arcade machines on Walt Disney World properties, the report said.