NBA player Robin Lopez, a longtime Disney fan, unknowingly bought rare items stolen from Disney World in a high-profile criminal case according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The Milwaukee Bucks player was in possession of clothing that belonged the animatronic Buzzy, from an old Epcot attraction.
Some of the audio exchanges recorded in April are between a pair of Orange County Sheriff’s investigators and Lopez’s friend, Brett Finley, a certified public accountant from Winter Park.
Patrick Spikes, a former cast member who’s charged with grand theft and his cousin are accused of sneaking into Disney and stealing various items and selling them.
Finley is a Disney collector had bonded with Lopez over their love of Disney and was close enough to have Lopez’s cell phone, which he gave to authorities when an investigator asked for it so he could avoid “causing a stir” with the NBA.
Lopez purchased Buzzy’s clothes from Spikes on eBay, Finley said during his April interview with investigators. The records don’t say whether Disney received the items back.
Last year, deputies began investigating after the animatronic “Buzzy” and his clothing — including a bomber jacket, headphones and green hat, valued at $7,000 — went missing from the Cranium Command attraction at Epcot. The ride, which explored how the brain works, shut down in 2007.
The new audio did not say what clothes specifically Lopez had.
“We had a call with Patrick … Robin and I both … The first question Robin asked, ‘Was any of this stuff stolen?’ [Spikes] said, ‘No, it’s not,'” Finley told authorities.
Lopez would be willing to cooperate with authorities “100%,” Finley said, who tried unsuccessfully calling the NBA player that day. Lopez did not answer his phone when the Sentinel contacted him Monday. His voicemail box was full, and he did not respond immediately to text messages.
The handmade Buzzy animatronic itself, valued at $400,000, also was missing, investigators said, from the audio released last week.