Florida man accused of posing as Disney employee, stealing R2-D2 droid

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida man is accused of dressing as a Walt Disney World employee and stealing several items, including a statue of an R2-D2 droid, authorities said.

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David Emerson Proudfoot, 44, of Kissimmee, was arrested May 31 and charged with two counts of grand theft, one count of petit theft, one count of obstruction by false information and one count of scheming to defraud, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Office online booking records.

According to an arrest affidavit written by Deputy Christopher Wrzesien, deputies responded to the Swan Reserve Hotel in Lake Buena Vista after Walt Disney World security officers called in reference to a possible grand theft crime.

The affidavit stated that Proudfoot originally identified himself as David E. Rodgers, of Reunion, but a background check revealed no person by that name at the address provided to authorities.

Deputies said Proudfoot was seen pushing a cart across the street onto Swan Reserve property. A security officer said the man’s behavior appeared to be “suspicious” and offered to help Proudfoot, who appeared not to know where the loading docks were and was confused about the Swan Reserve’s proper procedures.

According to the affidavit and WFTV, Proudfoot was wearing a Walt Disney World-issued tag with “David” inscribed and told deputies his supervisor was James McDaniels. Security officials said there was no record of David Rodgers working for the company, and that while McDaniels was a Disney employee, he was based out of Burbank, California.

Wrzesien wrote that he escorted Proudfoot to the Yacht Club Resort to retrieve his belongings and driver’s license from the employee lockers. He added that Proudfoot appeared to be lost and confused and failed to open the locker. Wrzesien noticed that Proudfoot had a wallet in his possession and determined his real identity after looking at his driver’s license.

According to Wrzesien’s report, Proudfoot admitted to “moving items on the property, including R2-D2 and a game machine.” Officials estimated the value of the R2-D2 statue at between $6,000 and $10,000.

According to the affidavit, Proudfoot told Orange County Deputy Sgt. Steve Strickland that he had an application pending for a security position at Walt Disney World and moved the items “to show weaknesses in the security of the resorts in the hope of securing a better paying job” with the company.

After his arrest, Proudfoot was linked to theft reports from weeks earlier at multiple other Disney hotels, WFTV reported.

On May 16, management at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge reported several items stolen from the gym area and two restrooms on the property, according to the television station.

The missing items included custom Disney World lighting fixtures and a custom towel cabinet valued at more than $6,000 total.

Deputies said Proudfoot later admitted to breaking into three separate arcade machines at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Boardwalk Resort, and the Grand Floridian Resort, according to WFTV.

Proudfoot was arrested and booked into the Orange County Jail. He made a written plea of not guilty on June 24, according to online court records.