A joint investigation by the Knoxville police and the FBI’s Cyber Crimes division is underway at the home of the CEO of one of America’s biggest lighting companies. The executive is Bandit Lites top man Michael Strickland. The headquarters of the business are also being searched.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Search Is Due to a Complaint From His Estranged Wife
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that search warrants were served at the home and the business at 11:30 a.m. on May 14. Employees remained in the offices while the search went on. Bandit Lites have not released a statement on the investigation. Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell BeBusk told the Sentinel “These warrants were issued as part of an ongoing criminal investigation by the Knoxville Police Department, the FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force and the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office.” All Michael Strickland has said about the search so far is “I want to make this perfectly clear. This search has absolutely nothing to do with Bandit Lites.” He added that the search was the result of a complaint from his estranged wife.
2. Bandit Lites Has Done the Lighting for Super Bowl Half-Time Shows & the NBA
Bandit Lites provides lighting for artists as diverse as Carrie Underwood, Van Halen and REM. In addition to their headquarters in Knoxville, the company has offices in Hong Kong, San Francisco and London. Around 300 people work at the company. Bandit Lites does the lighting for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. In the past, Bandit Lites has done the inaugural balls for president’s Reagan, Bush Senior, and Bill Clinton. In therms of events, the company was worked shows for the WWE and did the Super Bowl XXIX half time show, which featured Tony Bennett and Patti LaBelle. You can read a full list of Bandit Lites’ achievements above.
3. Bandit Lites Has Been Lighting Company of the Year 21 Times
The company is hugely celebrated, winning Lighting Company of the Year 21 times, most recently in February 2015, according to the Bandit Lites website. In a feature for the Kingsport Times News, Strickland began his company in 1968 after attending a concert with his sister. The piece says that, despite Strickland’s inability to play music, he wanted to be in show business. Bandit Lites got its name because he “borrowed” much of the lighting equipment he used when he first set up the business.
4. Strickland Is a Former Eagle Scout
According to Strickland’s LinkedIn page, he has a law degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He also got a bachelors in business from the school. The Kingsport Times News reports that Strickland is a native of Kingsport, Tennessee. His father was a research chemist and his mother was a teacher. In the Times News feature, it mentions that Strickland was an eagle scout as well as a star football and basketball player.
5. Strickland Is Married With 2 Sons
Strickland lives in Knoxville with his wife, Nicole, and their two sons, Chase and Cole, reports the Kingsport Times News.