Patrick Spikes is a former Disney World employee who is accused of stealing and re-selling more than $7,000 in costumes and other memorabilia from the Orlando, Florida, theme park, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office says.
Spikes founded BackDoorDisney to post online about his exploits as he explored backstage areas at the Walt Disney World parks. After the 24-year-old was arrested on felony grand theft charges on May 16, Spikes deleted his personal and Disney World-themed social media pages. Spikes had been under investigation for several months and news of the alleged thefts had spread throughout communities of Disney fans online.
In a statement, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said, “Spikes, 24, sits behind bars and faces charges of burglary, grand theft, and dealing in stolen property. He entered a restricted area of Disney, stole over $7,000 in items and resold them. Special thanks to the tireless efforts of our Sector 6 detectives.” Disney has not commented about the arrest.
Here’s what you need to know about Patrick Allen Spikes:
1. Spikes Is Accused of Using Underground Tunnels to Get Backstage at the Haunted Mansion Ride & Then of Selling Stolen Items Online for At Least $30,000
Patrick Spikes is accused of using employee-only underground tunnels at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom to get into backstage areas, including the Haunted Mansion ride. Spikes was accompanied by his cousin while in the tunnels, according to a police report obtained by Heavy.
While investigating Spikes’ involvement in alleged thefts from the theme park, detectives from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office obtained search warrants for his phone and other electronic devices, according to court documents. Detectives said they found photos of “numerous pieces” of Disney property on his found, “almost all of which (were) later determined to be stolen.”
One photo showed a close up of a costume tag that read “A.A. Magic Kingdom Haunted Mansion Fig. 32A.,” police said. A Disney investigator saw the photograph and found that the dress was reported as stolen from a locker inside the Haunted Mansion. The investigator told detectives it was assigned to animatronic figure 32A and was one of two rotated out for cleaning. The animatronic is in the ballroom scene of the Haunted Mansion.
According to financial records obtained by police, Spikes received $29,451.70 through Paypal from two people between July 2018 and September 2018. One man, who Heavy is not identifying because he is cooperating with the investigation and has not been charged, sent $8,890.21 to Spikes in July and August, according to police. He said he purchased multiple items from Spikes, including the Haunted Mansion dress. The man said Spikes told him the items were his personal belongings that he obtained from Disney with permission. Police said Spikes sold the man 18 items in total, all of which were stolen from Disney World over the course of several burglaries, according to court documents.
Police said in court documents that Spikes appeared to have made a fake employee ID for his cousin, Blaytin Taunton. A photograph on Spikes phone showed a Disney employee ID being made inside a printing machine. Police said the photo resembled Taunton and used the name “Jack D. Marrow.” Disney told detectives no such employee works at the park and the employee number used on the ID belonged to an ex-employee.
Police said the theft of the dress occurred on July 31, 2018. Spikes entered the Magic Kingdom using his employee ID, while his cousin entered using a ticket, just before 9 p.m. Spikes and his cousin took a photo together on Spikes’ phone in the “utilidoor” area of Magic Kingdom, which is the underground tunnel area for employees only.
“The tunnels allow access to different areas of the park, both guest and backstage areas. In the photo, Spikes is wearing a button down collard blue and white striped dress shirt with a Disney name tag. Taunton is wearing a black polo shirt usually worn by Disney stage crew personnel and a Disney name tag that says ‘Jose,'” according to police. “Taunton is not an employee of Disney World.”
According to police, Spikes and Taunton then took photos inside the Haunton MAnsion while it was open, but in a restricted area. “Disney records show that Spikes was not scheduled to work that day, was not paid for working that day and would not be permitted inside the attraction since that is not his job assignment, even if he was working,” police said in court documents.
Spikes later posted some of the photos online, according to police. Another photo on Spikes’ phone showed a woman, believed to be Taunton’s girlfriend, wearing the stolen Haunted Mansion dress and a tiara, according to court documents. Detectives said Spikes and his cousin also stole a jacket, trousers, a bodice, skirt, petticoat, a second skirt and a second bodice, a yellow wig, two male wigs and a tiara, valued at $7,216, while inside the Haunted Mansion in July 2018.
2. He Was Charged With Resisting an OFficer in 2018 During the Investigation Into the Theft of EPCOT’s ‘Buzzy’ Animatronic, Police Say
Spikes was previously charged in December 2018 with misdemeanor resisting an officer without violence while detectives were investigating the theft of an animatronic from the EPCOT theme park, according to court documents. The charges were later dismissed.
According to the criminal complaint in that case, Spikes was being interviewed at an Orange County Sheriff’s office station as part of a grand theft investigation. During the interview, detectives “confronted” Spikes with photos taken from his cell phone in August 2018 that showed stolen merchandise from Disney World in his vehicle, according to the complaint.
“I had also developed information that the defendant made text messages claiming the stolen merchandise was sold for $8,000,” a detective wrote in the complaint. “I told the defendant to place his phone on the table in the interview room, with the intention of seizing it for a search warrant. The defendant placed his phone on the table, and a few moments later stated he was leaving and took his phone. I told him we were keeping his phone. Once I said this he grabbed the phone from the table and brought it to his waist area. The defendant was secured and the phone was removed.”
According to the complaint, Spikes was then detained while police searched his phone and home. Spikes complained that he was sick and felt like he was going to vomit and “began to make strained breathing noises and stated he couldn’t breath.” Spikes was given water and later taken to the hospital, where he was treated and released.
Police said in court documents filed after Spikes’ second arrest in May 2019 that in August 2018 clothing was stolen from an animatronic in the closed “Cranium Command” attraction at EPCOT, which had been closed for years and was set to be archived by Disney. Clothing was stolen, including a bomber jacket, large headphones and a green hat.
According to court documents, investigators also learned “the entire Buzzy animatronic was later stolen from the attraction.”
According to court documents, the alleged theft of the animatronic remains under investigation. It is not clear if Spikes remains the target of that investigation and whether he could face additional charges as that probe progresses. According to police, “Spikes denied any firsthand knowledge of the thefts, but provided vague information of people we could look into, but would not provide names or specifics. Spikes stated that he would contact us if he heard anything.”
Spikes could also be charged in further cases involving the sales of the 18 items to the man cooperating with the investigation. Police said further cases could be brought in connection to the 17 other items along with the dress, which is the only stolen item relevant to the case Spikes was charged with in May 2019.
3. Spikes Had Social Media Accounts, a YouTube Channel & a Podcast Under His ‘BackDoorDisney’ Brand
Patrick Spikes appeared to be trying to build a brand for his “behind the scenes” content on social media, YouTube and through a podcast, all using the name “BackDoorDisney.” Spikes did not appear to have a big following, but some of his photos and videos from the backstage areas of the Disney World parks spread in online Disney communities prior to his arrest. He also was interviewed by another Disney podcaster.
Spikes had already gained some notoriety in the Disney online community after his 2018 arrest because court documents revealed his possible involvement in the theft of the EPCOT animatronic. There was speculation about whether the animatronic had actually been stolen.
After his arrest on the theft charges, Spikes deleted the videos from his BackDoorDisney YouTube channel and took down his personal and BackDoorDisney social media pages, including Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Spikes’ BackDoorDisney accounts were investigated by Disney World employees, according to court documents. “Disney Security Investigators” were made aware of an employee named Patrick Spikes … who was taking pictures backstage while employed. During their internal investigation, they discovered that Spikes was developing an online social media presence to display these photos,” police said.
He posted a photo of the animatronic “Buzzy,” with clothing still attached in October 2018, according to court documents.
4. He Is a Florida Native & Studied at Full Sail University
Spikes is a Florida native and lives in Winter Garden, Florida.
It is not clear how long Spikes worked at Disney World or what his job with the company was. A now-deleted Linkedin profile shows that Spikes studied to work in the entertainment industry at Full Sail University.
Spikes’ cousin, Blaytin Taunton, has not yet been charged as part of the investigation, but police have said that the investigation into the thefts and re-selling of stolen property remains open and ongoing. Taunton is a 23-year-old Panama City, Florida, resident, according to online records. Taunton does not have any previous arrests in Orange County, according to court records.
5. Spikes Was Released From Jail on Bail & Faces Up to 25 Years in Prison if Convicted of the 3 Felony Charges He Faces
Patrick Allen Spikes was released from the Orange County Jail on bail after his May 16 arrest. A date for his first court hearing has not been set.
Spikes was charge with dealing in stolen property (trafficking), a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. He was also charged with burglary of an occupied structure and grand theft of $5,000 or more, which are both third-degree felonies. He faces up to 5 years in prison on each of those charges.
Spikes could not be reached for comment by Heavy. There is no attorney listed in court records who could comment on Spikes’ behalf.