A number of Orange County Sheriff’s deputies “swarmed” a closed-down Walt Disney World theme park in April trying to find a trespasser accused of camping on an island at the resort, a video obtained by Click Orlando shows. Watch below:
Richard McGuire, 42-years-old, was arrested back in April for allegedly camping on Disney’s former zoological park, Discovery Island, while the rest of the resort was closed because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As deputies search by air, water and on the ground trying to locate McGuire, the alleged trespasser recorded videos of himself hiding on the island.
“Disney World ain’t playing, Disney World ain’t (expletive) playing,” McGuire said in a video, recently uploaded on his YouTube channel. The video shows him covering himself with leaves as the sheriff’s helicopter can be heard circling overhead.
McGuire has pleaded not guilty to trespassing, a misdemeanour which carries a (maximum) one-year jail sentence.
Recently released video captured by deputies’ body-worn cameras show how the manhunt unfolded on Discovery Island, an 11-acre island in the middle of Disney’s Bay Lake which used to house animal exhibits, walking trails and more.
The former park closed to the public in 1999, one year following the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Guests could only reach Discovery Island by boat.
A wildlife trail camera snapped a photo of a man trespassing on Discovery Island just before 7:00am on the 30th April, Disney officials told deputies.
Videos posted on McGuire’s YouTube channel show that he travelled to the island around 11:00pm the previous night using a small boat that he transported to Disney World property on the roof of his van.
Around an hour before the trespasser was caught on Disney’s camera, McGuire can be seen on a YouTube video drying his boots in front of a campfire that appears to have been started inside a building on the island.
“You guys, if you all ever do this, be respectful to the next people who are explorers,” McGuire said on the YouTube video. “If you have a fire, make sure you put it out the next day. I’ve been doing this since 2004 and I’ve never caught anything on fire.”
Around 8:00am, two deputies took a boat across Bay Lake to start searching the island. The deputies’ body-worn cameras show them holding guns as they looked for the trespasser inside the former park’s buildings and trials.
“He’s got to be somewhere,” one deputy said as she realised more officers would be needed to cover the island.
Several hours later, three teams arrived at Discovery Island by boat and started searching the property as the sheriff’s helicopter flew overhead.
In one of the videos posted on McGuire’s YouTube channel, deputies’ voices can be heard in the background as he appears to hide from them.
“They’re talking to me,” McGuire said on the video. “The island is surrounded.”
For around an hour, deputies trekked through the animal cages of the zoological park, crumbling rest rooms and collapsed boardwalks, at times using machetes to chop through thick brush.
“This is the best game of hide-and-seek ever,” one deputy joked. “Dude this is sketchy,” his partner responded.
Unable to find the trespasser, deputies ended the ground search, but Disney employees continued to watch over the island from shore.
“We’ve probably walked right past him,” one deputy said before leaving the island.
Around 8:00pm, deputies were called back to Walt Disney World when a man who later identified himself as McGuire was seen crossing Bay Lake in a motorised boat.
“I’m just wore out. Flat wore out,” McGuire said shortly after approaching a deputy on the shore and pulling the boat out of the water.
“Did you go camping?” asked the deputy. “Yeah,” McGuire responded. “That’s a tropical paradise. I was going to stay out there for about a week.”
As McGuire was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car, deputies located his camouflage-coloured van with a decal that said, “Wildlife Field Biologist”.
Near the van, which deputies said had been illegally park in an alley behind homes in Orange County’s Horizons West neighbourhood, deputies came across a woman believed to be McGuire’s girlfriend.
Even though she originally denied knowing anything about McGuire, the unidentified woman later acknowledged McGuire was there to shoot videos for their YouTube channel, deputies’ body-worn cameras show.
“I told [McGuire], ‘Look, if you get in trouble, count me out. I’m not part of it,” the woman told the deputies. “I love him, but not that much.”
Even though McGuire’s criminal case is still going through the legal process, new videos showing on Discovery Island have been uploaded on his YouTube channel recently.
“Luckily, I’ve already taken my daughter [to] Disney World before I got a life band,” McGuire told his YouTube channel subscribers in his most recent video.
Related videos can be watched below:
H/T Click Orlando