Was The Theft Of Frances McDormand's Oscar A Publicity Stunt?

Suspect Terry Bryant didn't seem to be hiding his crime from the cameras.

Authorities are on the case of what really happened to Frances McDormand's Oscar. The Best Actress accolade was stolen shortly after McDormand's win at the Academy Awards on Sunday. Now some are speculating that the man behind the heist may have been seeking nothing more than publicity, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The suspect arrested for the incident, 47-year-old Terry Bryant, was spotted literally holding up the award at the famed Governors Ball after the ceremony. He didn't seem to be hiding his crime, posing with the statue for cameras to see, as USA Today reported.

He was spotted walking out of the Governors Ball holding the Oscar over his head and saying, "All right baby boys and baby girls." The Associated Press (and other media on the scene) caught Bryant holding the Oscar.

During his first court appearance on Wednesday, Bryant's own attorney said that it was all just a prank and that Bryant wanted nothing more than to schmooze with famous people. The attorney, Daniel Brookman, claimed that Bryant often holds other people's awards for publicity.

"There's a big difference between holding an Oscar and what he's charged with," Brookman said after the hearing. "I don't think his character matches these charges."

Naomi Levy, a rabbi who came to court to support Bryant, also vouched for his character during the hearing. 

"He's a sweet and gentle man of faith," she said.

Despite this, authorities are taking the incident more seriously. Bryant has been charged with felony grand theft. He pleaded not guilty and could get up to three years if convicted.

Past jail records show that Bryant has been arrested multiple times on suspicion of theft, assault and trespassing in the state of Oregon, reported ABC 7 in Los Angeles.

As previously reported, McDormand was awarded the Best Actress Oscar award at the Academy Awards for her role in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."  The 60-year-old actress was at the party with her husband, filmmaker Joel Coen, when the award was being engraved with her name. That's when she realized it was gone. The actress' rep confirmed that the award was taken and then quickly returned.

"I can confirm that after a brief time apart, Frances and her Oscar were happily reunited last night. They celebrated their reunion with a double cheeseburger from In-N-Out,” McDormand’s rep told People.

[Photo: Getty Images]

Crime Time is your destination for breaking crime news, original reporting, and information about Oxygen's programming. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our Martinis & Murder podcast!